Reality TV star and rapper Maurice Fayne will spend 17.5 years in a federal prison for PPP fraud and a multimillion-dollar Ponzi scheme. [Image: Shutterstock.com]
Federal prison for reality TV star
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia (USAO-NDGA) has announced the sentencing of reality television star Maurice “Mo” Fayne to 17.5 years in a federal prison.
The USAO-NDGA took to Twitter on September 15 to share news of 38-year-old Fayne’s sentence for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) fraud and a multimillion-dollar Ponzi scheme:
The Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta star claimed millions in COVID-19 relief funds last year and used the money to bankroll his lavish lifestyle and his Ponzi scheme, which ran under the guise of a trucking business from March 2013 through May 2020. The USAO-NDGA said that during the Ponzi scheme, which saw over 20 investors defrauded, Fayne spent over $5m in an Oklahoma casino.
U.S. District Judge Mark H. Cohen convicted Fayne for conspiracy and wire fraud linked to a Ponzi scheme, bank fraud, and falsifying statements to a financial entity linked to a fraudulent PPP loan application. He sentenced the Dacula, Georgia native to the lengthy prison stretch followed by five years of supervised release.
must also pay $4,465,865.55 in restitution to the victims
Fayne, who got convicted on these charges in May 2020 following a guilty plea, must also pay $4,465,865.55 in restitution to the victims.
Fayne spent fortunes
Fayne’s conviction came not long after he submitted a $3.7m PPP loan application to United Community Bank in April 2020. A DOJ news release on Wednesday reported acting US Attorney Kurt R. Erskine as saying that the celebrity’s intent was to use the PPP program as a front for his Ponzi scheme.
The rapper, who goes by the name of “Arkansas Mo”, dishonestly claimed that he needed the PPP funds to pay the 107 employees of his struggling trucking enterprise, Flame Trucking. He received just over $2m in relief funds, which he set about burning fast.
Prosecutors said he bought $85,000 worth of glitzy jewelry, which included a diamond bracelet, a 5.73-carat diamond ring, and a Rolex Presidential watch. His spend also included a $136,000 lease on a Rolls Royce Wraith and a $65,000 cash withdrawal, while $230,000 went to his Ponzi scheme associates.
Erskine added that PPP funds “serve as a lifeline to many businesses desperately trying to stay afloat during the pandemic, and unfortunately [Fayne’s] fraud helped deplete those precious dollars.”
Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta, was less prosaic. “We won’t tolerate anyone driven by personal greed to pocket American taxpayer money that should be going to those who need it,” he said.
End of the line
According to the New York Post, after Fayne lied to federal agents about spending the PPP funds on Flame Trucking, a search of his Georgia home in May 2020 “uncovered approximately $80,000 in cash, including $9,400 Fayne had in his pockets.”
Agents also seized around $503,000 in PPP funds after executing a seizure warrant for bank accounts the rapper owned or controlled.