During the coronavirus pandemic, many small businesses struggled to stay afloat and took out loans under the COVID-19 Wage Protection Program (PPP) to help, but reports of PPP fraud are on the rise, including at least three people who were arrested for alleged fraud. receiving large sums of money and using some of it to buy luxury cars.
In Florida, a man pleaded guilty after fraudulently received $ 3.9 million in PPP loans and used $ 318,000 to buy a Lamborghini. Miami-based David T. Hines, 29, has pleaded guilty to one count of electronic fraud and is expected to be sentenced on April 14, according to authorities.
The California resident is accused of receiving $ 5 million in PPP loans to help with COVID-19 and the purchase of Ferrari, Bentley and Lamborghini. According to the Justice Department, Mustafa Qadiri was arrested in May and charged with four counts of bank fraud, four counts of electronic fraud, one count of aggravated identity theft and six counts of money laundering. Qadiri pleaded not guilty.
A third person from Texas, Dinesh Sah, also admitted that he filed 15 fraudulent claims and requested loans worth about $ 24.8 million, and, you guessed it, he also bought luxury cars.
But what would make someone buy a luxury car with stolen money? Dr. Colleen Sira, a licensed clinical psychologist, said this could be for a variety of reasons.
“It depends on who we’re talking about,” Tsira told Inside Edition Digital. “If the people who buy luxury cars on PPP loans are CEOs, very rich and wealthy corporations, then for me this is just another example of corporate greed and what happens when power and privilege are not controlled.
“But many other small businesses have been stressed during the pandemic and can live in a stressful response that affects decision making and judgment,” Tsira said.
A PPP loan could be a moment of relief for them, she said.
“I’m also wondering if they’re just sinking into this relief, which doesn’t mean that everything is okay,” Tsira said. “We don’t have the ability to use the frontal lobe when we are caught in response to stress, and again, that’s not all. It may be pure greed, but when we are truly overwhelmed, especially in the midst of chronic stress. by reacting like COVID, we can get trapped like it’s easier than anything, because we just need to calm their nerves. “
No one can be sure of the exact reasoning behind why someone bought a luxury car after illegally receiving money, but the status of luxury cars like Lamborghini itself may be a clue.
Lamborghini has long been known as the best sports car, which appeared in the United States back in the eighties of the last century. The car, in particular the Lamborghini Countach, rose to fame after starring in the 1981 film Cannonball.
“It appeared like almost no other car. And I think the DNA of that exists today, ”Road & Track editor-in-chief Mike Guy told Inside Edition Digital.
Now the Lamborghini Huracan is just as popular and still a symbol of wealth and status, but also more affordable than the older model, starting at $ 200,000.
“The Huracan is a truly fantastic sports car. It handles very well and has a great engine. He looks great, ”Guy said. “It ticks all the boxes for the popular imagination. You come to the club and this is the car everyone is looking at. She fascinates. “
So, while it could be a desire for status, a moment of greed, or a stressful response, it could still lead you to jail.
Thomas Smith, who lives in Wisconsin, will be serving time in prison for being the mastermind behind a PPP fraud scheme, diverting money from troubled businesses to fake companies. Smith will serve five years in prison and was ordered to pay almost $ 1 million.
“I guess I was just greedy,” Smith told his lawyer, Michael Steinl. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel…