Monday, October 26, 2020

NFL player Joshua Bellamy charged in $24 million Covid-19 scam

-

Joshua Bellamy – A wide receiver who was cut from the New York Jets on Tuesday has been charged with fraudulently obtaining a $1.2 million loan from the Paycheck Protection Program and using the proceeds to buy luxury goods, prosecutors said on Thursday.

The former player, Joshua J. Bellamy, 31, was charged with wire fraud, bank fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, prosecutors said. He was arrested on Thursday morning and made an initial appearance via Zoom in federal court in Florida.

Mr. Bellamy, of St. Petersburg, Fla., signed with the Jets in 2019 but was sidelined with a shoulder injury in March after playing in seven games. He was cut from the team on Tuesday, according to a Jets spokesman. He had played for the Chicago Bears from 2014 to 2018.

In a federal complaint, prosecutors said that Mr. Bellamy had taken part in a scheme with 10 other defendants who collectively filed at least 90 fraudulent loan applications seeking more than $24 million in coronavirus relief loans. Many of those loan applications were approved and funded by financial institutions, paying out at least $17.4 million, prosecutors said.

- Advertisement -

Mr. Bellamy became involved, prosecutors said, after Phillip J. Augustin, who was described in court documents as a manager for professional football players, used falsified documents to obtain a fraudulent loan for his talent management company, Clear Vision Music Group L.L.C.

Mr. Augustin, seeking kickbacks, then began to work with Mr. Bellamy and others to submit numerous other fraudulent loan applications, prosecutors said. Federal prosecutors said Mr. Augustin had collected more than $900,000 in kickbacks.

Mr. Augustin, 51, of Coral Springs, Fla., was charged in July with wire fraud, bank fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, and obstruction.

Prosecutors said Mr. Bellamy had obtained a Paycheck Protection Program loan of $1.25 million for his own company, Drip Entertainment L.L.C., which he used to buy more than $104,000 in luxury goods from Dior, Gucci and other merchants.

- Advertisement -

Mr. Bellamy also spent $62,774 in loan proceeds at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, prosecutors said.

“I truly hope the public will give him the benefit of the doubt at this time,” Mr. Weiner said. “All too often professional athletes are taken advantage of by people purportedly acting on their behalf as agents or advisers.”

Michael Grieco, a lawyer for Mr. Augustin, said that the case was new and that “the charges are obviously very serious, and we look forward to learning more about the investigation in the coming weeks.”

“History has shown many times that lawyers making bold statements or deflecting blame too early in federal cases end up eating their words in a change-of-plea hearing, and therefore we have no further comment at this time,” Mr. Grieco said.

The federal complaint against Mr. Bellamy details text messages, bank records and statements that prosecutors said Mr. Bellamy made during an August phone call with an undercover agent posing as an associate of one of the conspirators in the scheme.

During the call, the agent claimed to be able to help Mr. Bellamy have his loan forgiven and to help him obtain a second loan.

When the agent asked Mr. Bellamy how he had spent his loan, Mr. Bellany replied that he was wiring money, withdrawing money and “buying stuff” for his artists who were “doing videos and stuff like that,” the complaint states.




At the end of the call, Mr. Bellamy said he had additional people to refer for loans from the Paycheck Protection Program, including his girlfriend, his mother and his brother, prosecutors said.

The federal government created the Paycheck Protection Program in March as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, which was enacted to prevent large-scale job losses as the coronavirus pandemic gripped the United States, forcing businesses to close.

The loans could be forgiven if the funds were used to cover payroll and certain other expenses.

Original article on nytimes.com

MUST READ

Julius Baer to deny two former CEOs their bonuses over money laundering scandal

Julius Baer will withhold millions of francs in bonuses from its former chief executives Boris Collardi and Bernhard Hodler, as a result of a...

Goldman Sachs executives to cover part payments of $3 billion fines in 1MDB scandal

Nine current or former Goldman Sachs executives, including CEO David Solomon, will have to pay back hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation over...

Goldman Sachs agrees $3 billion settlement with US DoJ over 1MDB corruption scandal

Goldman Sachs has agreed to pay nearly $3bn (£2.3bn) in the US to end a probe of its role in Malaysia's 1MDB corruption scandal. The...

Hong Kong fines Goldman Sachs $350 million over 1MDB scandal

Goldman Sachs ignored multiple red flags over the multibillion-dollar fundraisings it arranged for state fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad, Hong Kong’s financial regulator said on...

Texas attorney general Ken Paxton fires top aide who accused him of bribery

Lacey Mase, one of the top aides who accused Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton of crimes including bribery and abuse of office, has been fired, she told The...

Subscribe For More

Get our daily notification on the latest financial crimes news around the World

Advertisement
Advertisement

Latest News

This Week

Judge opposed dismissal of bribery charge against former Portage mayor Synder

A judge denied Thursday two motions to dismiss a soliciting bribes charge former Portage Mayor James Snyder will be retried on, according to court...

Trial of bitcoin launderer Alexander Vinnik begins in Paris

The trial of a Russian man alleged to have used ransomware in a 135 million euros ($157 million) bitcoin fraud will begin Monday. Alexander Vinnik, who...

Former Harris County deputy constable pleads guilty to transporting drug money and heroin

A former Harris County deputy constable and her husband pleaded guilty Wednesday to charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute heroin, according...

Berkshire Hathaway to pay $4.1m to settle Iran sanctions violation

Berkshire Hathaway Inc. has agreed to pay roughly $4.1 million to settle allegations that a Turkish subsidiary violated U.S. sanctions on Iran. The U.S. Treasury Department on...
Advertisement

Adblock Detected!

Our website is made possible by displaying online advertisements to our visitors. Please consider supporting us by whitelisting our website.

Enable Notifications    Ok No thanks