One day after JPMorgan admitted that several of its employees had illegally “pocketed” stimulus funds and that it was working with law enforcement after identifying cases of customers “misusing” PPP funds, on Thursday Feds charged 57 people with stealing $175 million from a the PPP program, adding that they are eyeing hundreds more suspected cases of fraud. Over 500 individuals who may have defrauded the Paycheck Protection Program.

Among those charged was Former New York Jets wide receiver Josh Bellamy. The DOJ accused him of participating in a $24 million scheme to fraudulently receive coronavirus-relief loans.

According to the indictment, Bellamy, 31, obtained a PPP loan of $1.2 million for his company, Drip Entertainment, and used the money to purchase over $104,000 in luxury goods from Dior, Bucci and other jewelers. He also spent $62,774 in loan money at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino and withdrew more than $300,000.

The eight-year National Football League veteran was released by the Jets this week, according to news media reports.

Joshua Bellamy

The complaint claims Bellamy also sought loans on behalf of family members and friends and worked with co-conspirators in exchange for kickbacks.

Bellamy WAS one of 11 defendants, according to a press release by the U.S. Justice Department on Thursday. In total, the group applied for more than $24 million of loans and received at least $17.4 million, the release said.

The full charging document is below:

NFL Player Charged for Role in $24 Million COVID-Relief Fraud Scheme 

NFL Player Fraudulently Obtained $1.2 Million in Small Business Administration Paycheck Protection Program Loan

A National Football League (NFL) player has been charged for his alleged participation in a scheme to file fraudulent loan applications seeking more than $24 million in forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

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Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Ariana Fajardo Orshan of the Southern District of Florida, Special Agent in Charge Michael J. De Palma of the IRS-Criminal Investigation (CI) Miami Field Office, Special Agent in Charge George L. Piro of FBI’s Miami Field Office, and Special Agent in Charge Kevin A. Kupperbusch of the U.S. SBA-Office of Inspector General (OIG), Investigations Division, Eastern Regional Office, made the announcement.

Joshua J. Bellamy, 31, of St. Petersburg, Florida, a player in the NFL, was charged in a federal criminal complaint filed in the Southern District of Florida with wire fraud, bank fraud, and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud.  Bellamy was arrested this morning and will appear today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Christopher Tuite of the Middle District of Florida.

The complaint alleges that Bellamy conspired with others to obtain millions of dollars in fraudulent PPP loans.  Early in the scheme, Phillip J. Augustin allegedly obtained a fraudulent PPP loan for his talent management company using falsified documents.  After submitting that application, Augustin then began to work with other co-conspirators, including Bellamy, on a scheme to submit numerous fraudulent PPP loan applications for confederate loan applicants, in order to receive kickbacks for obtaining the forgivable loans for them. 

Bellamy is alleged to have obtained a PPP loan of $1,246,565 for his own company, Drip Entertainment LLC.  Bellamy allegedly purchased over $104,000 in luxury goods using proceeds of his PPP loan, including purchases at Dior, Gucci, and jewelers.  He is also alleged to have spent approximately $62,774 in PPP loan proceeds at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, and to have withdrawn over $302,000.  Bellamy also allegedly sought PPP loans on behalf of his family members and close associates.

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The complaint alleges that the scheme involved the preparation of at least 90 fraudulent applications, most of which were submitted.  Augustin, Bellamy, and other conspirators in the scheme are alleged to have applied for PPP loans that are together worth more than $24 million dollars.  Many of those loan applications were approved and funded by financial institutions, paying out at least $17.4 million.

The other 10 defendants allegedly involved in this scheme whose complaints were previously unsealed are the following:

  • Tiara Walker, 37, of Miami Gardens, Florida, was charged in a federal criminal complaint filed on Sept. 3, 2020, in the Southern District of Florida, with wire fraud, bank fraud, and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud;
  • Damion O. Mckenzie, 38, of Miami Gardens, Florida, was charged in a federal criminal complaint filed on Aug. 3, 2020, in the Southern District of Florida with wire fraud, bank fraud, and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud;
  • Andre M. Clark, 46, of Miramar, Florida, was charged in a federal criminal complaint filed on Aug. 3, 2020, in the Southern District of Florida with wire fraud, bank fraud, and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud;
  • Keyaira Bostic, 31, of Pembroke Pines, Florida, was charged in a federal criminal complaint filed on Aug. 3, 2020, in the Southern District of Florida with wire fraud, bank fraud, and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud;
  • Phillip J. Augustin, 51, of Coral Springs, Florida, was charged in a federal criminal complaint filed on July 28, 2020, in the Northern District of Ohio with wire fraud, bank fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, and obstruction;
  • Wyleia Nashon Williams, 44, of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, was charged in a federal criminal complaint filed on July 28, 2020, in the Northern District of Ohio with wire fraud, bank fraud, and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud;
  • James R. Stote, 54, of Hollywood, Florida, was charged in a federal criminal complaint filed on June 24, 2020, in the Northern District of Ohio with wire fraud, bank fraud, and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud;
  • Ross Charno, 46, of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, was charged in a federal criminal complaint filed on June 24, 2020, in the Northern District of Ohio with wire fraud, bank fraud, and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud;
  • Deon D. Levy, 50, of Bedford, Ohio, was charged in a federal complaint filed on June 8, 2020, in the Northern District of Ohio with wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud; and
  • Abdul-Azeem Levy, 22, of Cleveland, Ohio was charged in a federal complaint filed on June 8, 2020, in the Northern District of Ohio with wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
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Via Zerohedge