Former Chicago Bears and New York Jets wide receiver Joshua Bellamy has been sentenced to 37 months in prison after pleading guilty to his part in a $17 million Paycheck Protection Plan fraud scheme last year.
Bellamy is one of 11 people who were arrested in his home state of Florida in conjunction with this particular scheme. According to NBC News, the former NFL player was accused of using a $1.2 million loan intended to help his business overcome COVID-related challenges on personal items including jewelry and gambling.
He pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in June.
“Bellamy obtained a PPP loan of $1,246,565 for his company, Drip Entertainment LLC, using falsified documents and false information,” the Department of Justice said in a statement. “Bellamy admitted to using the PPP loan proceeds on personal items, such as jewelry, and a stay at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. Bellamy also sought PPP loans on behalf of his family members and close associates. Bellamy further admitted that he paid more than $311,000 to an alleged co-conspirator, James Stote, as a kickback for his assistance in preparing and submitting the fraudulent loan application.”
A Florida woman named Yashica Bain, who paid Stote $28,000 for helping her secure a $415,232 PPP loan, was sentenced on the same day as Bellamy and will spend two years in prison and three years under supervised release. She will also have pay $415,232 in restitution and an additional $415,232 in forfeiture.
Just weeks after Bellamy entered his plea deal, Stote, the apparent mastermind in this scheme, was charged with with wire fraud, bank fraud, and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud. Authorities allege he helped others falsify applications for a total of $24 million.
He has yet to appear in court to face these charges.
Bellamy, who is currently out on bond and is set to report to prison on Feb. 15.