GEORGIA — A member of the rap group Pretty Ricky is facing federal charges after investigators say he fraudulently got a COVID-19 relief loan and bought a Ferrari with the money.
Diamond Blue Smith, 36, of Dade County, Florida, was charged with wire fraud, bank fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud. He appeared before a magistrate judge in Georgia after his arrest.
Federal prosecutors said Smith fabricated papers to secure a $426,717 loan under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) for his company, Throwbackjersey.com LLC.
The PPP loan program is part of the CARES Act and is meant to assist millions of Americans struggling due to the economic impact of the global pandemic.
According to federal prosecutors, Smith sought another $708,064 for his other company, Blue Star Record LLC, again using fabricated documents.
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Prosecutors said Smith took the scheme a step further and sought PPP loans for other people in order to receive kickbacks. One of those people was Josh Bellamy, former wide receiver in the NFL, who tried to get over $24 million in PPP loans, according to prosecutors.
Last month, federal authorities arrested Bellamy and charged him with bank and wire fraud. According to the documents obtained, Bellamy spent $104,000 on luxury goods and more than $62,000 at the casino.
Besides Bellamy, Smith assisted 11 other small-business owners get PPP loans, prosecutors said. They were all arrested, mostly in the south Florida area, but the scheme also included people from Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling 866-720-5721 or visiting the federal court website.
Cox Media Group