Joshua Bellamy: NFL player charged with fraud in coronavirus relief scheme

Joshua Bellamy: NFL player charged with fraud in coronavirus relief scheme

National Football League wide receiver Josh Bellamy, formerly of the New York Jets and Chicago Bears, was charged with several federal crimes for allegedly participating in a conspiracy that involved fraudulent applications for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans amid the coronavirus pandemic. Neither Jets spokespeople nor Bellamy's agent immediately returned the Daily Mail's request for comment.

The Justice Department said in a news release that the scheme started when Bellamy's associate had obtained a fraudulent PPP loan for his talent management company using falsified documents.

Numerous loans were approved, and at least $17.4 million was paid out. It is unknown at this time if the Jets' release of Bellamy was with the knowledge of an impending lawsuit in the Southern District of Florida for federal crimes. The former Jets wide receiver then allegedly purchased more than $104,000 in luxury goods with the money.

Prosecutors alleged that Bellamy also spent approximately $62,774 in PPP loan proceeds at a Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, and withdrew more than $302,000.

He was arrested Thursday morning in Florida and was scheduled to appear later in the day before U.S. Magistrate Judge Christopher Tuite of the Middle District of Florida.

Bellamy did not participate in training camp with the Jets, and he was ruled out of the season with an injury before players began reporting to practices.

Prosecutors in South Florida alleged Thursday that Bellamy, a St. Petersburg resident, and 10 other people conspired to file dozens of false claims under the Payroll Protection Program (PPP), with the group obtaining at least $17.4 million. It's not that Bellamy is a world-beater as a receiver, but as a depth option who contributes to special teams and brings good locker-room vibes, I was caught off guard as to why the move happened days after cut-down weekend.

The other defendants have each been charged with the same crimes, but in various jurisdictions around the US and on different days.

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