Rapper gets 6-year sentence for COVID-19 Fraud plot

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Nuke Bizzle, a rapper based in Los Angeles, will spend several years behind bars. The rapper, Fontrell Antonio Bines, was sentenced Wednesday for more than six years in prison. This is in connection with the COVID-19 scheme. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office: per KTLAThe 33-year old was sentenced to 77 months in Federal Prison and $704,760 as restitution.

Baines had accepted a July plea deal, in which he pleaded guilty federal fraud and firearms offenses. Baines allegedly illegally obtained more than $700,000. This is according to authorities. The pandemic unemployment benefits were administered by California Employment Development Department in July 2020 through September 2020. To obtain unemployment benefits, the rapper, originally from Memphis, Tennessee, used the names and addresses of his collaborators in Beverly Hills and Koreatown. Pre-loaded debit cards were pre-loaded with unemployment benefits derived from 92 fraudulent claims, totalling at least $704,000.760. Federal prosecutors stated, “through his fraud, Baines turned the taxpayer-funded program into ‘his personal piggybank.'”

After being found with eight debit cards under different names, Baines was arrested in September 2020 by Las Vegas authorities. He later accepted a plea bargain in July. He released a song called “Baines” and a music video before his arrest. “EDD,”In which he boasted about getting “rich off of EDD.”Baines holds up a stack EDD envelopes in the music video. The song includes lyrics like “unemployment so sweet / We had 1.5 land this week” “You gotta sell cocaine, I can just file a claim.”During his sentencing hearing, he requested a lighter sentence. He claimed that the scheme was conceived by his friends and also apologized for his role in the fraud case.

“They said they will give me money for letting mail come to the house. They would send the envelopes, and all I had to do was give them the mail when it arrived,” He wrote a letter to judge. “When I found out how much money they were getting I felt played, and I started just taking the cards myself and telling them they never made it.”

According to KTLA the rapper’s Wednesday sentencing was combined with two separate charges, in addition the EDD case. Baines was also charged in October 2020 with illegally possessing semi-automatic guns. He pleaded guilty to one count each of mail fraud in July and possession of oxycodone intent to distribute in August.

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