MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A Miami man is drawing worldwide attention after being arrested on charges he defrauded the federal government out of COVID-19 relief funds and spent some of the $4 million loan on a Lamborghini costing more than $300,000.
Pictures of that man surfaced Tuesday in “The Daily Mail,” a London newspaper.
A law enforcement source tells CBS4’s Peter D’Oench that the same man, David Hines, was cited last Thursday and given a $100 ticket for not wearing a face mask.
Hines was given the ticket by the Miami Police Department’s Neighborhood Enhancement Team as officers Anthony Reyes and Orlando Del Valle fanned out near North Bayshore Drive.
At the time, Hines said, “I think this is hilarious and disturbing wearing a surgical face mask as if that’s going to make a difference in this pandemic. I am aware you need to be 6 feet away from people but this is so ridiculous. I don’t know if I can bring myself to participate in this insanity. I feel silly, wearing a surgical mask outside.”
Federal authorities said Hines received a $4 million loan through the Small Business Administration’s Payroll Protection Program, which was a $650 million plan approved by Congress to help businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.
An arrest affidavit said Hines was arrested last Friday on federal charges after a series of expenditures that were not permissible under the program.
Prosecutors said he spent $318,497 on a super-luxury Lamborghini Huracan EVO from a North Miami Beach dealership and sent nearly $16,000 on hotel stays at the Fontainebleau and Sitai Hotels on Miami Beach and at Sak’s Fifth Avenue.
He also reportedly spent some of the money on dating websites, jewelry and clothing.
Ironically, last Thursday, Hines criticized the program that had helped him, overstating how much had been given out.
“The government, the Treasury, they get 2 trillion from PPP loans for small businesses,” he said. “Eighty-five percent of it went to big corporations. Every single business I know of they shut their doors. They can’t pay their rent all of a sudden.”
The arrest affidavit also said, “Hines falsely claimed his company paid millions of dollars in payroll in the first quarter of 2020. State and bank records, however, show little or no payroll expense during this period.”
The criminal complaint said Hines’ four moving businesses applied for seven SBA loans totaling $13.5 million through Bank of America. He reportedly said the money would be spent on at least 70 employees and said the monthly payroll was $4 million. Three applications were approved for just under $4 million.
There is some good news.
Federal authorities reportedly discovered a balance of more than $3.4 million of the original $4 million loan in Hines’ bank accounts.
He faces an arraignment on October 14th and has been released on $100,000 bond. The federal Magistrate in his case allowed him to live at home with his mother while wearing a GPS monitor.
CBS4 reached out to his attorney but has not heard back.
Records show that Hines has been arrested before on state charges, including battery, trespassing and resisting arrest without violence.
CBS4 news partner the Miami Herald said that federal authorities tied the Lamborghini to Hines after he was involved in a hit-and-run accident on July 11th. The newspaper said Miami police impounded the car and now prosecutors plan to seize it.
According to the newspaper, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Berger said, “Certain SBA loan scammers have been able to exploit the Payroll Protection Program because while the federal agency is guaranteeing the COVID-19 relief loans issued by banks for eligible small businesses, it is not bothering to check any of the claims in their applications.”