Mississippi man charged with using COVID funds to buy $1M home, Tesla car

Published 9:25 pm Thursday, May 13, 2021

A Mississippi man was arrested Thursday for his alleged role in a scheme to get more than $6 million in federal loans from the COVID-19 Paycheck Protection Program, federal prosecutors said.

Christopher Paul Lick, 45, of Starkville, is accused of using the relief money to buy a variety of luxury items, including a $1 million home and a $100,000 Tesla, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Mississippi said in a news release. He also allegedly used the money to invest in the stock market, authorities said.

It was unknown if Lick has an attorney who could speak on his behalf.

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Lick devised a scheme to defraud and obtain the funds by filing false and fraudulent loan applications with banks providing loans as part of the relief program, the news release said. Lick is alleged to have overstated the number of employees and payroll expenses of his businesses to receive the funds.

Lick faces four counts of wire fraud, one count of making false statements to a financial institution and 11 counts of money laundering. If convicted of those charges, Lick faces up to 30 years in prison.