Federal authorities have charged two people, including a reality TV star, in separate cases of fraud involving government programs set up to help businesses that have suffered financially because of the coronavirus lockdown.
Maurice Fayne, who appears on the VH1 series “Love and Hip Hop: Atlanta” as Arkansas Mo, was charged Wednesday with bank fraud.
Fayne allegedly took out a $2 million loan under the Paycheck Protection Program, claiming he needed the money to pay employees and make mortgage and other payments for a trucking business he owns.
Prosecutors allege Fayne used nearly all the money to buy expensive jewelry and make child support payments. He denied the allegations when questioned by federal investigators.
“At a time when small businesses are struggling for survival, we cannot tolerate anyone driven by personal greed, who misdirects federal emergency assistance earmarked for keeping businesses afloat,” FBI Special Agent Chris Hacker said.
In a separate case, a federal court charged a Texas engineer with seeking $10 million in coronavirus relief loans.
The case against Shashank Rai of Beaumont, Texas, east of Houston, alleges he claimed to own a business with 250 employees when apparently no such business exists.
U.S. Attorney Joseph Brown called Rai’s behavior “very brazen.”
“Those who submit these applications for loans or other assistance need to understand that there are people checking on the representations made, and those representations are made under oath and subject to the penalties of perjury. Federal agencies are watching for fraud, and people who lie and try to cheat the system are going to be caught and prosecuted,” Brown said.