David Tyler Hines is the Florida man accused of using money from the Paycheck Protection Program, which was established to help business owners pay their employees amid the coronavirus pandemic, to buy a Lamborghini and other luxury items for himself.
Hines is facing federal charges for bank fraud, making false statements to a financial institution and engaging in unlawful transactions, according to a Department of Justice news release. Hines appeared before a judge in the Southern District of Florida on July 27. He was released from custody later that day, according to federal inmate records.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. David Hines Received Nearly $4M in Loans But Bank Records Showed Hines’ Monthly Payroll Expenses Were Significantly Lower
Hines requested $13.5 million through the Paycheck Protection Program in order to pay his employees and cover other business expenses, according to the criminal complaint filed in the Southern District of Florida. His application was approved but for a lesser amount.
He received nearly $4 million from a federally insured bank based in Charlotte, North Carolina. The bank was referred to only as “Bank A” in the complaint. The money was deposited into four accounts, two of which Hines solely owned. There was a second authorized signer on the other two accounts.
Prosecutors said Hines claimed he employed about 70 workers at his four companies and that the monthly payroll added up to about $4 million. But Hines’ monthly expenses were actually far smaller, investigators said.
The Justice Department said Hines lied about how many people he employed or greatly exaggerated how much he paid them. According to the complaint, “A review of the HINES Companies Accounts from January through April of 2020 shows monthly inflows and outflows averaging around $200,000 – far less than the millions of dollars in payroll that HINES sought in the PPP application.”
Bank records show Hines issued payments to 12 different individuals between January and April 2020 using HINES Companies’ accounts. Investigators said the payments were made using apps such as Venmo and that all of the transfers were for less than $3,000.
2. Hines Bought a Lamborghini Days After Receiving the PPP Funds
Hines went on a spending spree after receiving the PPP funds, prosecutors said. According to the criminal complaint, Hines’ largest purchase was a 2020 Lamborghini Huracan sports car. He bought the vehicle on May 18 for $318,497.53. The car was jointly registered to Hines and Unified Relocation Solutions LLC, one of his companies.
Prosecutors said Hines also used the money on dating websites, luxury jewelry and at Miami resorts. The complaint lists the largest payments that Hines made in May and June and noted “there does not appear to be any business purpose for most, if not all, of these expenses.” The payments included two $15,000 payments to “Mom.” Hines is also accused of spending more than $8,500 at a diamond store, more than $4,600 at Saks Fifth Avenue and at least $17,000 at various resorts in Miami. More than $50,000 went to entities described only as Subjects A, B, C, and D.
According to the complaint, the bank closed the four account associated with Hines’ businesses on June 24. The accounts had a total outstanding balance of more than $3.4 million. Prosecutors said Hines has not made any payments on the loans. The Justice Department took possession of the Lamborghini and the remaining funds.
Loans made through the Paycheck Protection Program are forgivable if the money is used on legitimate business expenses and to keep workers employed. Congress initially authorized $349 billion in forgivable loans to small businesses and added another $300 billion to the fund in April 2020. More than $520 billion had been distributed as of June 30, Fox News reported.
3. Hines’ Attorney Described His Client as a ‘Legitimate Business Owner” Who Was ‘Anxious to Tell His Side of the Story’
Hines was arrested on July 24 and held at a federal detention center. He was released from custody in July 27, according to inmate records.
Bond was set at $100,000. A judge decided to allow Hines to stay at his mother’s house but he has to wear a GPS monitor, according to the Tampa Bay Times. An arraignment hearing was scheduled for October 14.
Federal court records list Chad Piotrowski as Hines’ attorney. Piotrowski told the New York Times that Hines is a “legitimate business owner who, like millions of Americans, suffered financially during the pandemic.” He said Hines was “anxious to tell his side of the story when the time comes.” Heavy reached out to Piotrowski for additional comment but we have not yet heard back.
4. Two of Hines’ Companies Were Graded ‘F’ By the Better Business Bureau
Hines had four companies registered in Florida, according to the criminal complaint. Three of them were still active when the charges against Hines were filed. The businesses were listed as:
- Unified Relocation Services, LLC
- Promaster Movers, Inc (Inactive)
- Cash In Holdings LLC
- We-Pack Moving LLC
According to the Justice Department, investigators did not find any operating websites for any of the four companies. The complaint noted that Promaster and We-Pack Moving were both listed as F-rated businesses by the Better Business Bureau.
The complaint states, “Based on customer comments, it appears that Promaster and WPM acted as brokers for moving services. Virtually all of the reviews include complaints relating to bait-and-switch practices and other deceitful activities.” Heavy checked the BBB and confirmed that Promaster and We-Pack Moving were listed on the site but Unified Relocation Services and Cash In Holdings Inc were not.
5. Hines Was Ticketed For Not Wearing a Mask About a Week Before the Arrest
This was not Hines’ first run-in with law enforcement. According to NBC Miami, Hines accused of his girlfriend of stealing his vehicle, also a Lamborghini, in October 2018. The TV station reported that Hines alerted an officer to the situation but “became uncooperative” and fled the scene with his girlfriend.
Hines was charged with battery against an officer and resisting arrest. Hines was sentenced to probation for a misdemeanor offense of resisting an officer without violence, according to the Tampa Bay Times.