Former NFL player charged with stealing $24 million in PPP funds, blows it on gambling and jewelry

The Justice Department recently reported that former New York Jets wide receiver Josh Bellamy was part of a $24 million scheme to fraudulently receive coronavirus-relief (PPP) 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.

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.

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. [ … ]

The post Former NFL player charged with stealing $24 million in PPP funds, blows it on gambling and jewelry appeared first on NewsCetera.

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