According to the criminal complaint unsealed Monday with his appearance before U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge John J. O’Sullivan in the Southern District of Florida, Hines attempted to secure some $13.5 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans designed to help small businesses pay workers on their payroll amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In the complaint, prosecutors accuse Hines of making false statements concerning the number of employees on his payroll in seeking $13.5 million from lenders, which approved three of his applications for $3.98 million.
“Those purported employees either did not exist or earned a fraction of what Hines claimed in his PPP application,” the complaint states. “State and bank records, however, show little to no payroll expense during [the first quarter of 2020].”
Of the money he received, some was spent on dating websites, luxury jewelry, clothing and Miami beach resorts, prosecutors said, adding that within days of receiving the funds, more than $318,000 went to purchase a 2020 Lamborghini sports car that he jointly registered in his name and that of his company.
The complaint states that Hines claimed to have at least 70 employees, but prosecutors said he has an average monthly flow of some $200,000 and that he spent none of the PPP money he received went to payroll.