VH1 reality show Love & Hip-Hop: Atlanta tv star Maurice Fayne was hit with federal bank fraud charges Wednesday for allegedly spending a $2 million coronavirus relief business loan on expensive jewellery and child support payments.
Maurice Fayne, also known as Arkansas Mo, was charged with misusing more than $3 million in loans that were supposed to go to the employees of his trucking business, the Department of Justice said in a press release.
Officials say Fayne applied for a bailout loan under the name Flame Trucking, claiming that he needed the cash to pay his 107 employees. He added that he had to cover an average monthly payroll of $1,490,200. Fayne applied for a $3,725,500 loan that was supposed to be used to “retain workers and maintain payroll or make mortgage interest payments, lease payments, and utility payments, as specified under the Paycheck Protection Program Rule.”
The DOJ said that Fayne allegedly used over $1.5 million of the loan to buy $85,000 worth of jewellery, including a Rolex Presidential watch, a diamond bracelet and a 5.73 carat diamond ring. He also spent $40,000 on child support, prosecutors said.
When federal agents interviewed him on May 6th, Fayne denied the allegations.
However, Government agents searched his home receiving all the evidence they needed to support their case against him, including the jewellery, $80,000 in cash, $9,400 that Fayne had in his pockets, and a 2019 Rolls-Royce Wraith. They also seized a little over $500K in PPP funds from three of his bank accounts, the report states.
“The defendant allegedly stole money meant to assist hard-hit employees and businesses during these difficult times, and instead greedily used the money to bankroll his lavish purchases of jewellery and other personal items,” said assistant attorney general Brian A. Benczkowski in a statement.
“The department will remain steadfast in our efforts to root out and prosecute frauds against the Paycheck Protection Program.”
“The defendant allegedly egregiously sought personal gain from a program intended to assist hardworking Americans in this challenging time. SBA OIG and its law enforcement partners will aggressively pursue allegations of wrongdoing to maintain the integrity of SBA’s programs,” said Special Agent in Charge Kevin Kupperbusch of the Small Business Association Office of Inspector General (SBA OIG) Eastern Region.
The Paycheck Protection Program was passed during the COVID-19 pandemic as a way to help small businesses and employees avoid devastating fallout from social distancing and stay-at-home orders. The Trump administration recently came under fire for using the program to grant loans to big businesses like Shake Shack, Ruth’s Chris, and the Los Angeles Lakers.