Former NFL players convicted of COVID-19 rescue fraud – CBS Atlanta
MIAMI, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – A former National Football League (NFL) player was sentenced to 37 months in federal prison on Friday for fraudulently obtaining more than $ 1.2 million through a loan from the Paycheck protection (PPP) guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Coronavirus Assistance, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES).
Court documents show Joshua J. Bellamy, 32, of St. Petersburg, Fla., A former NFL player pleaded guilty in the Southern District of Florida to conspiring to commit wire fraud on June 9 . As part of the fraud scheme, Bellamy obtained a PPP loan of $ 1,246,565 for his company, Drip Entertainment LLC, using forged documents and false information. Bellamy admitted to using the proceeds from the PPP loan on personal items, such as jewelry, and a stay at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. Bellamy also applied for PPP loans on behalf of his family and close associates. Bellamy further admitted that he paid more than $ 311,000 to an alleged co-conspirator, James Stote, as a bribe for his assistance in preparing and submitting the fraudulent loan application. In addition to his prison term, Bellamy was ordered to serve three years of supervised release and pay $ 1,246,565 in restitution and $ 1,246,565 in forfeiture.
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In addition, a Florida woman was sentenced on December 9 to two years in federal prison for fraudulently obtaining a PPP loan as part of this criminal scheme. Court documents show Yashica Bain, 38, of Miramar, Fla., Pleaded guilty in the Southern District of Florida to conspiring to commit wire fraud on September 30. As part of the fraud scheme, Bain obtained a P3 loan of $ 415,232 for her. company, Microblading Brow Studio LLC, using forged documents and false information. Bain used the proceeds from the P3 loan to get rich and enrich others who had never worked for his company. She falsely referred to these payments as “pay” and “wages” to perpetrate this fraud. Bain admitted that she paid Stote more than $ 28,000 as a bribe for her assistance in preparing and submitting the fraudulent loan application. In addition to her prison term, Bain was ordered to serve three years of supervised release and pay $ 415,232 in restitution and $ 415,232 in forfeiture.
Stote was charged by complaint on June 24, 2020, with wire fraud, bank fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud. His file remains pending.
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US Attorney Juan Antonio Gonzalez of the Southern District of Florida; Deputy Attorney General Kenneth A. Polite Jr. of the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice; Special Agent in Charge Michael J. De Palma of the IRS-Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) Field Office in Miami; Special Agent in Charge George L. Piro of the FBI Miami Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge Amaleka McCall-Brathwaite of the SBA Inspector General’s Office (SBA-OIG) Eastern Region made the announcement.
The IRS-CI, the FBI and the SBA-OIG have investigated these cases.
Trial attorney Philip Trout of the Fraud Section of the Criminal Division and Assistant U.S. Attorneys David Turken and Yisel Valdes of the Southern District of Florida continued these cases.
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On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General created the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Working Group to mobilize the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with government agencies to strengthen efforts to combat and prevent the pandemic fraud. The Working Group strengthens efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable national and international criminal actors and assists agencies responsible for administering relief programs to prevent fraud, among other methods, by scaling up and integrating mechanisms coordination, identifying resources and techniques for uncovering fraudulent actors and their programs, and sharing and leveraging information and knowledge gained from previous enforcement efforts. For more information on the department’s response to the pandemic, please visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus.