Reality TV Star Convicted of PPP Fraud and Multi-Million Dollar Ponzi Scheme | USAO-NDGA
ATLANTA – Maurice Fayne, who starred in Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta, was sentenced to more than 17 years in federal prison for conspiracy and wire fraud related to a Ponzi scheme, and for bank fraud, and for doing misrepresentation to a financial institution related to a fraudulent Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan application.
“Fayne planned to use the P3 program as a cover for his long-standing Ponzi scheme,” Acting US Attorney Kurt R. Erskine said. âThe funds provided by the program are serving as a lifeline for many businesses desperately trying to stay afloat during the pandemic, and sadly, its fraud has helped deplete those precious dollars. ”
“This sentence should mean that the FBI and our federal partners will investigate anyone who diverts federal emergency aid intended for businesses that need it to stay afloat,” said Chris Hacker, special agent in charge of the FBI Atlanta. . “We will not tolerate anyone driven by personal greed to pocket US tax dollars that should go to those in need.”
âLying to gain access to the SBA’s pandemic response programs is not without consequence,â said Amaleka McCall-Brathwaite, special agent in charge of the SBA OIG Eastern region. âThe OIG will relentlessly pursue evidence of fraud against SBA programs aimed at helping small businesses across the country grappling with the challenges of the pandemic. I would like to thank the United States Attorney’s Office for its leadership and dedication to the pursuit of justice.
According to Acting US Attorney Erskine, the charges and other information presented to the court: From March 2013 to May 2020, Fayne led a multi-state Ponzi scheme that defrauded more than 20 people who invested in his business. trucking. Fayne promised he would use investor money to run the business. Instead, he used the money to pay off debts and personal expenses and to finance an extravagant lifestyle. During the scheme, Fayne spent over $ 5 million at an Oklahoma casino.
In April 2020, Fayne applied for a $ 3.7 million PPP loan to United Community Bank, mistakenly claiming that his trucking company had 107 employees and an average monthly payroll of $ 1,490,200. Fayne promised to use the proceeds of the P3 loan to retain workers and maintain payroll or make mortgage interest payments, lease payments and utility payments related to his trucking business. Instead, Fayne used the proceeds from the PPP loan for improper purposes, including:
â¢ $ 40,000 for overdue child support;
â¢ $ 50,000 for restitution due in a previous fraud case;
â¢ $ 65,000 in cash withdrawals;
â¢ $ 85,000 for custom jewelry;
â¢ $ 136,000 to lease a Rolls-Royce;
â¢ $ 230,000 to associates who helped him run a Ponzi scheme;
â¢ $ 907,000 to start a new business in Arkansas.
Maurice Fayne, aka Arkansas Mo, 38, of Dacula, Georgia, was sentenced by US District Judge Mark H. Cohen to 17 years, six months in prison followed by five years of supervised release and ordered to pay restitution. in the amount of $ 4,465,865.55 to the victims. Fayne was convicted of the charges on May 11, 2021, after pleading guilty.
This matter was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Small Business Administration-Office of Inspector General.
Assistant US prosecutors Russell Phillips and Bernita Malloy continued the case.
On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General created the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Working Group to mobilize the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with government agencies to strengthen efforts to combat and prevent the pandemic fraud. The Working Group strengthens efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable national and international criminal actors and assists agencies tasked with administering relief programs to prevent fraud, among other methods, by scaling up and integrating mechanisms coordination, identifying resources and techniques for uncovering fraudulent actors and their programs, and sharing and leveraging information and knowledge gained from previous enforcement efforts. For more information on the Department’s response to the pandemic, please visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus
Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) hotline at 866-720 -5721 or via the NCDF web complaint form at: https: // www. .justice.gov / disaster-fraud / ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.
For more information, please contact the US Attorney’s Office of Public Affairs at [email protected] or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the United States Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is http://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga.