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.
Prosecutors in South Florida alleged Thursday that Bellamy, a St. Petersburg resident, and 10 other people conspired to file dozens of false claims under the Payroll Protection Program (PPP), with the group obtaining at least $17.4 million. Bellamy was charged with wire fraud, bank fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud. He was arrested Thursday and brought before a federal magistrate in Florida.
Bellamy, 31, received a $1.24 million loan for his company, Drip Entertainment LLC, and then spent $166,774 of the proceeds at a casino and on jewelry and luxury items, prosecutors allege. He also allegedly withdrew more than $302,000. Prosecutors further claim that Bellamy tried to obtain loans for family members and close associates.
The PPP was established to help small businesses deal with revenue losses caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Jets released Bellamy on Tuesday, but a source told ESPN’s Rich Cimini that the team was not aware he was about to be arrested. The team placed Bellamy on the physically unable to perform list in May as he continued to recover from a shoulder injury he suffered last season.
Bellamy began his career with the Chiefs in 2012 as an undrafted free agent. He later played with Washington and the Bears before joining the Jets last season on a two-year, $5 million contract (terms per Cimini). He appeared in seven games for New York, playing mostly on special teams. He had two receptions for 20 yards.
Source: Read Full Article