Ex-NFL star gets 3 years in prison after using PPP loan funds on luxury and personal items

The National Football League (NFL) is under what seems like perpetual scrutiny due to how many of its current and past players have been accused of committing crimes.

According to a recent report from the Washington Examiner, one former NFL star is about to go to jail after being accused of using money designated for COVID-19 relief to fund his luxurious lifestyle.

Thirty-two-year-old Joshua Bellamy, who played on a number of NFL teams, was sentenced to three years in prison for defrauding the Paycheck Protection Program, and ordered to pay $1,246,565 in restitution following his release.

Defrauding the PPP program

The sentence came after Bellamy pleaded guilty in June to conspiring to commit wire fraud as part of a COVID-19 recovery scheme.

A statement released last Friday by the Department of Justice explained that as part of his agreement, the former athlete acknowledged that he joined with others to abuse the Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

Although the program was intended to help preserve jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic, Bellamy obtained some $1.2 million worth of PPP loans through his company, Drip Entertainment LLC, which he frequently used for other purposes.

“Bellamy admitted to using the PPP loan proceeds on personal items, such as jewelry, and a stay at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino,” the statement explained. “Bellamy also sought PPP loans on behalf of his family members and close associates.”

“Bellamy further admitted that he paid more than $311,000 to an alleged co-conspirator, James Stote, as a kickback for his assistance in preparing and submitting the fraudulent loan application.”

More guilty parties

Another participant in the scheme was 38-year-old Florida woman Yashica Bain, who pleaded guilty in September. Bain paid $28,000 to Stote for his assistance in perpetrating the fraud.

Bain was sentenced to two years in prison along with three years of supervised release, and she will be forced to pay $415,232 in restitution, as well as $415,232 in forfeiture.

Charges of wire fraud, bank fraud, along with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, were filed against Stote in the summer of 2020 and have yet to be adjudicated.

The fraudsters are one of many who made the poor decision to defraud the SBA program, and many of them are now being prosecuted as a result.

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