HOUSTON — A Houston man who scammed $1.6 million dollars in COVID-19 relief money is headed to prison for fraud and money laundering.
A judge sentenced 30-year-old Lee Price III to 110 months -- or nine years and two months -- in federal prison Monday.
Price pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering in September.
The video in this story originally aired on Aug. 4.
Federal prosecutors say Price lied on Paycheck Protection Program applications to two different financial institutions. One of the applications for 713 Construction listed a CEO who died a month before it was submitted.
Price got $700,000 for that one and another $900,000 for another company but neither had employees, according to the charges.
He spent the money on a $200,000 Lamborghini Urus, a Ford F-350 pickup, a Rolex and other luxury items. The spending spree also included trips to Houston strip joints and nightclubs.
The feds say they seized about $700,000 in goods and cash from Price, who has a long rap sheet in Houston dating back to 2007 when he was a teenager.
The CARES Act was designed to provide emergency financial assistance to millions of Americans who were suffering from the economic effects of the pandemic.
Some people and businesses who had legit needs for the money have complained they never received it.
Since the inception of the CARES Act, the U.S. Justice Department's Fraud Division has prosecuted over 150 defendants in more than 95 criminal cases. They've seized over $75 million in cash, as well as numerous real estate properties and luxury items purchased with such proceeds.
More information can be found at https://www.justice.gov/criminal-fraud/ppp-fraud.
Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.