NFL’s Josh Bellamy charged with fraud in alleged COVID-19 relief scheme

The former Jets wide receiver and 10 others are accused of using money meant for coronavirus relief on items such as Gucci and Dior

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Former Jets wide receiver Josh Bellamy was charged and arrested for allegedly obtaining $1.2M in a COVID-19 relief fraud scheme.

Bellamy was arrested Thursday morning on federal charges with the U.S. Department of Justice declaring that the 31-year-old used money reserved for coronavirus for his own benefit. The complaint against him listed wire fraud, bank fraud, and conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud.

According to the government, he sought to file fraudulent loan applications seeking more than $24 million in forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

Chicago Bears v Minnesota Vikings
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – DECEMBER 30: Josh Bellamy #15 of the Chicago Bears warms up before the game against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium on December 30, 2018 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)

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Bellamy is accused of conspiring with others, including Phillip J. Augustin, to pull off this scheme that saw him allegedly misuse federal funds for the purpose of trips to the casino and “purchased over $104,000 in luxury goods using proceeds expensive items,” such as Gucci and Dior. He applied for the money through his Drip Entertainment LLC.

The money was intended for businesses that were financially struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of the loans Bellamy and others applied for were approved, totaling least $17.4 million.

“The complaint alleges that Bellamy conspired with 10 others to obtain millions of dollars in fraudulent PPP loans. Early in the scheme, Phillip J. Augustin allegedly obtained a fraudulent PPP loan for his talent management company using falsified documents,” the U.S. Department of Justice contends.

Buffalo Bills v Chicago Bears
CHICAGO, IL – AUGUST 30: Josh Bellamy #15 of the Chicago Bears yells encouragement to teammates during a preseason game against the Buffalo Bills at Soldier Field on August 30, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

“After submitting that application, Augustin then began to work with other co-conspirators, including Bellamy, on a scheme to submit numerous fraudulent PPP loan applications for confederate loan applicants, in order to receive kickbacks for obtaining the forgivable loans for them.”

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Bellamy’s arrest is another hit for the NFL veteran. Earlier in the week, The New York Jets released him. He missed much of the 2020 season due to a shoulder injury.

Bellamy was due to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Christopher Tuite of the Middle District of Florida later in the day.

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