NFL Player From Florida Charged in $1.2 Million Coronavirus Relief Fraud

Former Jets wide receiver, eight from South Florida charged in scheme, authorities say

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A National Football League player from Florida is accused of stealing more than $1.2 million in coronavirus relief funds.

Josh Bellamy, 31, of St. Petersburg, is facing federal charges of wire fraud, bank fraud, and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a news release Thursday.

The release said Bellamy, who spent several seasons with the Chicago Bears and was on the New York Jets last year, conspired with others to obtain millions of dollars in fraudulent Paycheck Protection Program loans.

Bellamy is alleged to have obtained a PPP loan of $1,246,565 for his own company, Drip Entertainment LLC.

Authorities said Bellamy allegedly purchased over $104,000 in luxury goods using proceeds of his PPP loan, including purchases at Dior, Gucci, and jewelers.

He is also alleged to have spent about $62,774 in PPP loan proceeds at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, and to have withdrawn over $302,000.

Bellamy also allegedly sought PPP loans on behalf of his family members and close associates. Besides Bellamy, 10 other people, including eight from South Florida, are charged in the scheme, which involved the preparation of at least 90 fraudulent applications worth more than $24 million, authorities said.

The Paycheck Protection Program represents billions of dollars in forgivable small business loans for Americans struggling because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It's part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, which became federal law in March.

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