Former reality TV star Maurice Fayne was hit with federal bank fraud charges Wednesday for allegedly spending a $2 million coronavirus relief business loan on expensive jewelry and child support payments.
Maurice Fayne, who appeared as Arkansas Mo on a recent season of VH1 reality show Love & Hip-Hop: Atlanta, 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.”
After taking in a more than $2 million installment from the loan, the DOJ says he immediately spent $85,000 on jewelry, including a Rolex Presidential watch, a diamond bracelet, a 5.73-carat diamond ring for himself. Officials also say he spent $40,000 on child support.
DOJ officials also say Fayne lied about what he did with the cash during an interview. The DOJ reported that on May 6, Fayne told investigators that he spent the $2,045,800 loan on payroll and other expenses for the trucking company.
The feds soon served a search warrant on the former TV star’s property.
On May 11, 2020, agents executed a search at Fayne’s residence in Dacula, Arkansas, and seized approximately $80,000 in cash, including $9,400 that Fayne had in his pockets, and the jewelry he purchased with the PPP funds, and further discovered a 2019 Rolls-Royce Wraith, which still had a temporary dealer tag on it. Agents also executed seizure warrants for three bank accounts that Fayne owned or controlled and seized approximately $503,000 in PPP funds.
“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 jewelry and other personal items,” said Brian Benczkowski, an assistant attorney general with the Justice Department. “The department will remain steadfast in our efforts to root out and prosecute frauds against the Paycheck Protection Program.”
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