NFL player Josh Bellamy, who used to play wide receiver for the Chicago Bears and was recently cut from the New York Jets, was arrested and charged in connection with obtaining over $1.2 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans, according to a United States Department of Justice press release on September 10.
The DOJ said Bellamy, 31, purchased over $104,000 in luxury goods using his allotted PPP loan, which included items from Christian Dior and Gucci. He also spent $62,774 of his PPP loan money at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, where he withdrew over $302,000, according to the press release.
According to the DOJ, Bellamy, who played college football Louisville and Butte Community College before signing with the Kansas City Chiefs as an undrafted free agent in 2012, also sought PPP loans on behalf of his family members and close associates. On September 10, Bellamy, who lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, was charged in a federal complaint filed in the Southern District of Florida with wire fraud, bank fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud.
After the former Bears receiver was arrested on September 10, he was set to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Christopher Tuite of the Middle District of Florida. In addition to Bellamy, 10 others were charged in connection to this PPP scheme, the DOJ said.
Bellamy Obtained a PPP Loan for $1,246,565 for His Own Company, Drip Entertainment LLC
The DOJ stated in the press release that Bellamy was “charged for his alleged participation in a scheme to file fraudulent loan applications seeking more than $24 million” in PPP loans “guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.”
The complaint alleges that Bellamy was conspiring with Phillip J. Augustin in the fraudulent scheme. The press release stated:
Early in the scheme, Phillip J. Augustin allegedly obtained a fraudulent PPP loan for his talent management company using falsified documents. 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.
Bellamy Is Not Expected to Play During the 2020 NFL Season
Bellamy was placed on the Jets’ Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list on May 5, and he was slated to miss the entirety of the 2020 NFL season after the Jets released him on September 8. The deep reserve and special teams player appeared in seven games with the Jets.
Prior to signing a two-year deal with the Jets, Bellamy spent five seasons with the Bears. He also had a brief stint playing with the Washington Football Team between 2013 and 2014.