Maybe the salary to be on reality TV wasn’t enough! VH1’s Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta cast member Maurice Fayne, also known as Arkansas Mo, was charged with federal bank fraud, according to The U.S. Department of Justice.
The Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta personality has been arrested on federal bank fraud charges arising from a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan that he obtained in the name of Flame Trucking. Fayne, 37, of Dacula, Georgia, has been formally charged with bank fraud and made his initial appearance on Wednesday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Justin S. Anand.
Fayne is the sole owner of a Georgia corporation called Flame Trucking. On April 15, 2020, Fayne submitted a PPP loan application in the name of Flame Trucking to United Community Bank (UCB). He stated that the business had 107 employees and an average monthly payroll of $1,490,200. He was seeking a loan in the amount of $3,725,500, and he certified that the loan would 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.”
UCB funded the loan for $2,045,800. Shortly after Fayne received the money, he allegedly used more than $1.5 million of the PPP loan proceeds to purchase $85,000 in jewelry, including a Rolex Presidential watch, a diamond bracelet, a 5.73-carat diamond ring for himself, and to pay $40,000 in child support. These purchases and payments are unauthorized use of PPP funds under the CARES Act.
“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 Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division in a written statement. “The department will remain steadfast in our efforts to root out and prosecute frauds against the Paycheck Protection Program.”
“The defendant allegedly took advantage of the emergency lending provisions of the Paycheck Protection Program that were intended to assist employees and small businesses battered by the Coronavirus,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak of the Northern District of Georgia. “We will investigate and charge anyone who inappropriately diverts these critical funds for their own personal gain.”
The CARES Act is a federal law enacted on March 29, 2020, designed to provide emergency financial assistance to the millions of Americans who are suffering the economic effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. One source of relief provided by the CARES Act was the authorization of up to $349 billion in forgivable loans to small businesses for job retention and certain other expenses, through the Paycheck Protection Program. In April 2020, Congress authorized over $300 billion in additional PPP funding.