Houston, Texas - A Texas man was sentenced today to 110 months in prison for his scheme to fraudulently obtain and launder proceeds from more than $1.6 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
According to court documents, Lee Price III, 30, of Houston, who pleaded guilty in September to charges of wire fraud and money laundering, submitted fraudulent PPP loan applications to two different lenders on behalf of three entities, 713 Construction LLC, Price Enterprises Holdings LLC, and Price Logistic Services LLC. Through these loan applications, Price sought over $2.6 million and actually obtained over $1.6 million in PPP loan funds. Price falsely represented the number of employees and payroll expenses in each of the PPP loan applications. To support the fraudulent PPP loan applications, Price also submitted fraudulent tax records and other materials. Illustratively, with respect to the 713 Construction LLC loan application, Price applied in the name of an individual who died shortly before the application was submitted. After he received the PPP loan funds, Price spent the money on, among other purchases, a Lamborghini Urus, a Ford F-350 truck, a Rolex watch, and to pay off a loan on a residential property. The Department of Justice, along with law enforcement partners, seized over $700,000 of the funds Price fraudulently obtained.
Assistant Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer Lowery for the Southern District of Texas; Special Agent in Charge Catherine Huber of the Federal Housing Finance Agency Office of Inspector General (FHFA-OIG) – Central Region; Special Agent in Charge Sharon Johnson of the SBA Office of Inspector General (SBA-OIG) – Central Region; and Acting Inspector in Charge Dana Carter of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service – Houston Division made the announcement.
FHFA-OIG, SBA-OIG, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service investigated the case.
Trial Attorney Andrew Tyler of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and Trial Attorneys James Alexander and Matthew Grisier of the Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section are prosecuting the case with the assistance of Assistant U.S. Attorney James McAlister of the Southern District of Texas. Assistant Deputy Chief Timothy A. Duree and Trial Attorney Kyle Maurer of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section assisted in the investigation and prosecution of the case.