Former NFL wide receiver Josh Bellamy is facing fraud and conspiracy charges after allegedly obtaining a bogus COVID-19 relief loan as part of a scheme that tried to obtain $24 million from the federal government. Bellamy allegedly conspired with others to obtain loans from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for his inactive company, Drip Entertainment, which was then spent on designer goods and at casinos.
Prosecutors claim that Bellamy became involved with Phillip J. Augustin, who was charged in the Northern District of OH back in July for allegedly coordinating $24 million in fraudulent loans through the PPP program.
31-year-old Bellamy - who was cut by the NY Jets just 2 days ago - is essentially accused of participating in a scheme in which people applied for more than $24 MILLION in PPP loans, intended for business owners to help stay afloat during the pandemic.
Josh Bellamy has been charged with fraud, bank fraud, and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud. Bellamy was placed on the physically unable to perform list in early May 2020 and on Tuesday he was released by the Jets.
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Josh Bellamy entered the National Football League out of Louisville by playing for three franchises as an undrafted wideout before landing for several years with the Chicago Bears.
The federal relief package included forgivable loans in the PPP program created to keep afloat small businesses hurt by the health crisis. He is also alleged to have spent approximately $62,774 in PPP loan proceeds at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, and to have withdrawn over $302,000. At least 42 of the requested loans were approved to the tune of some $17.4 million, the department said.
'To inflate the size of these PPP loans, and the corresponding kickbacks, the conspirators relied on a variety of false statements, including by submitting falsified bank statements and payroll tax forms, ' read the federal affidavit filed on Wednesday. "The conspirators used almost identical versions of the same fabricated bank statements, recycled in the PPP applications for multiple companies with minor changes", a complaint states. As a free agent in 2019, Bellamy signed with the Jets following five years with the Bears, only appearing in seven games last season with Gang Green.