Josh Bellamy: NFL Wide Receiver Accused of Misusing COVID-19 Relief Funds
Josh Bellamy, a wide receiver of the National Football League (NFL), is facing fraud charges after he allegedly participated in a scheme to deceptively acquire and misuse coronavirus relief funds.
According to the Department of Justice, Bellamy was arrested on Thursday morning and was charged with a federal criminal complaint of wire fraud, bank fraud, and conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud.
The NFL free agent allegedly received a forgivable loan of $1.2 million through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for his company, Drip Entertainment LLC, The Hill reported.
The loan is allegedly part of a scheme to get a total of $24 million from the PPP.
The PPP is part of the $2 trillion stimulus package approved by the Congress and the White House in March to soften the economic blow due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A report on CBS Sports stated that of the $1.2 million, Bellamy allegedly used $104,000 to make purchases from Dior and Gucci and spend another $62,774 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Florida. He also allegedly made a withdrawal of $302,000.
Josh Bellamy is one of the 11 business owners who have been charged by federal prosecutors. The NFL wide receiver is also accused of seeking PPP loans on behalf of his family members and close associates.
According to CNN, the Justice Department stated in a news release that the fraudulent scheme involving Bellamy started when his associate obtained a deceitful loan from the PPP for Drip Entertainment LLC using documents that were falsified.
The news release further noted that after doing so, the associate then began working with other co-conspirators including Bellamy and submitted numerous fraudulent applications for a PPP loan for confederate loan applicants.
This so they could receive kickbacks for having obtained the forgivable loans for the applicants, sort of a third party.
Bellamy's lawyers, Jeff and Diego Weiner, said their client is a decent man and since the case is still in its early stages, they hope the public will give him the benefit of a doubt as he is supposed to be innocent until proven otherwise.
The lawyers added that professional athletes are often taken advantage of by people who purportedly act on their behalf as advisors and agents. They said that more will be known as the case will progress.
Bellamy joined the NFL in 2012 when he was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Super Bowl LIV champions Kansas City Chiefs. From then, he has played with the Washington Redskins now Washington Football Team, Chicago Bears and the New York Jets.
Josh Bellamy is currently on free agency after he was cut by the Jets early this week. Still recovering from a shoulder injury incurred in 2019, the Jets had put Bellamy on the "physically unable to perform list" but now has decided to let the 31-year-old player go.
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