Ex-New York Jets wide receiver Josh Bellamy was sentenced to more than three years in prison for his role in illegally acquiring over $1.2 million in pandemic relief money, according to a release from the U.S. Department of Justice.
He initially received a $1 million dollar loan from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for his company, Drip Entertainment. Although according to court documents he used those funds on several personal items:
- A stay at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino
Specifically, bank records indicate that Bellamy spent more than $60,000 at that Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. He then spent tens of thousands on designer brands (Gucci), personal travel, and purchased custom jewelry pieces.
In addition to those purchases, the former wide receiver admitted that he doled out more than $311,000 to an “alleged co-conspirator”, James Stote, for all his help in assisting, preparing, and ultimately submitting fraudulent loan paperwork.
Stote was originally charged via complaint back on June 24, 2020, with wire fraud, bank fraud, and conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud, according to court documents. As of this week, his case remains pending.
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All of the Key Details
On June 9, 2021, Bellamy pleaded guilty “to conspiracy to commit wire fraud”, according to the Department of Justice.
He was able to illegally obtain more than $1.2 million by using “falsified information and falsified documents”, according to the court documents.
Bellamy was sentenced on Friday, December 10 to serve 37 months in prison. In addition to his sentencing, he will serve three years of supervised release and will have to repay $1.25 million in both restitution and in forfeiture.
During his eight years in the National Football League, Bellamy collected over $8.1 million in career earnings.
The legal representation for Bellamy, Diego Weiner, said that it is still very early in this case and he pleaded with the public that they give this young man “the benefit of the doubt”:
“All too often professional athletes are taken advantage of by people purportedly acting on their behalf as agents or advisors.”
Likely Spells the End of an NFL Career
Bellamy is 32 years old and will be 33 by the start of the 2022 season. This latest prison sentence of more than 37 months ensures he won’t be eligible to return to the National Football League until he is 36 years of age.
The veteran wideout hadn’t played an NFL game since his time with the Jets back in 2019 but was with the team on the roster through early September of 2020 before getting released.
Bellamy played in four different cities spending time in Kansas City, Washington, Chicago, and most recently with the Jets. Although he spent the largest portion of his professional career with the Bears from 2014 through 2018.
During his eight-year career, Bellamy tallied 78 receptions for 1,019 yards and hauled in five touchdowns. It is worth noting he really cut his teeth on special teams where he logged over 1,135 snaps.