An NFL player was arrested Thursday and charged with illegally obtaining more than $1.2 million in coronavirus relief loans, the Justice Department announced.
Prosecutors charged New York Jets wide receiver Joshua Bellamy, 31, with wire fraud, bank fraud and conspiracy in connection with an an alleged scheme involving 10 other conspirators.
The conspirators sought $24 million in loans from the Small Business Administration under the Paycheck Protection Act.
Billions of dollars in PPP loans have been given to small businesses to help them cover payroll and other business expenses during the coronavirus pandemic.
Bellamy signed a two-year contract in 2019 with the New York Jets worth up to $5 million. The team released him on Tuesday.
It is unclear how much he will be paid for the 2020 NFL season, which begins Thursday night.
Prosecutors allege that Bellamy obtained $1,246,565 in fraudulent loans for his company, Drip Entertainment LLC.
He allegedly spent nearly $63,000 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino and withdrew $302,000 in cash. He also allegedly spent $95,000 at two jewelry stores.
A criminal complaint against Bellamy says that one of the co-conspirators in the scheme is now working as a confidential human source for the FBI in the investigation.
The confidential source, who was not identified, filed paperwork for Bellamy that falsely claimed he employed 47 people at Drip Entertainment.
Bellamy agreed to make a kickback payment of $311,000 to the FBI’s source. The informant also requested $19,000 from Bellamy to file paperwork to seek forgiveness for the loans, according to the criminal complaint.
Bellamy is set to appear before a magistrate judge in Florida on Thursday, according to a Justice Department press release.
Justice Department officials said at a news conference earlier Thursday that 57 individuals have been charged with seeking $175 million in fraudulent PPP loans since the program started.
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