The rapper, identified as Fontrell Antonio Baines from Memphis, Tennessee, schemed the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance provided under the CARES Act, which aims to provide coronavirus aid and relief, prosecutors said.
Baines previously published a music video titled "EDD," the California Employment Development Department, according to the press release.
Los Angeles-based Rapper Nuke Bizzle who bragged about making money off of unemployment benefits was arrested for "carrying out" a scheme by "fraudulently applying" for over $1.2 million in jobless benefits using stolen identities, federal prosecutors said Friday.
According to a Justice Department press release, the rapper, identified as 31-year-old Fontrell Antonio Baines Memphis, Tennesee, "exploited" California's Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, a provision of the federal CARES Act designed to provide unemployment benefits to those eligible. The CARES Act is intended to provide aid and relief in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
"Baines used debit cards pre-loaded with unemployment benefits," administered by the California Employment Development Department," the press release stated, citing the affidavit filed with the complaint. "The debit cards were issued in the names of third-parties, including identity theft victims. The applications for these debit cards listed addresses to which Baines had access in Beverly Hills and Koreatown."
Investigation showed that Baines "allegedly accessed" over $700,000 from more than $1.2 million schemed benefits from at least 92 mailed debit cards, the affidavit stated.
Baines in a music video posted to YouTube called "EDD," on September 11 boasted about his "Swagger for EDD."
Throughout the music video, Baines and another rapper, "Fat Wizza," is seen wearing designer clothes while waving envelopes and cash that they throw around.
A voiceover at the beginning of the music video says, "Your account has now been activated and is now ready for use." The rappers both recite verses that say they're getting "rich off of EDD" and one gives a "shoutout to Donald Trump."
The caption for the video, which is in all caps, claims that it was "created with props and was made for entertainment purposes."
Baines was arrested by Las Vegas police arrested Baines on September 23, according to the release. He "had in his possession eight debit cards, seven of which were in the names of other persons."
Baines could face up to 22 years in federal prison, according to federal prosecutors.
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