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FORMER NFL PLAYER SWINDLES MILLIONS FROM THE PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM

Updated: Oct 26, 2023

It was a bad day for the New York Jets receiver Josh Bellamy when he got cut from the team this past September, and an even worse day when he was charged with wire fraud, bank fraud, and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud after allegedly swindling the government out of more than $1.2 million in the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) COVID-19 relief money.


According to CBS News, Bellamy's payout was part of a larger scheme. He and 10 other co-conspirators applied for more than 90 PPP loans and were granted a enormous $17.4 million. This money was meant for small businesses that fell on hard times during this pandemic, but Bellamy used his share of $1.2 million for his company, Drip Entertainment LLC, to go on a shopping spree.


Bellamy reportedly splurged on over $104,000 worth of jewelry and goodies from Gucci and Dior. He also spent more than $62,000 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino and an additional $302,000 in "fun money."


To secure the loans, Bellamy and his friends relied on falsified bank statements and payroll tax forms and "recycled" the same paperwork and applications for multiple companies. Fortunately, this misuse of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act didn't go unnoticed. The IRS, FBI, and Small Business Administration (SBA) worked together to investigate and expose the fraud ring.


As of this time, Bellamy's fate is unclear. Odds are that he won't get off as easily as being cut from the Jets, and his next uniform might even be an orange jumpsuit.



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