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A member of the hip-hop group Pretty Ricky was arrested and charged with wire fraud, bank fraud, and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Diamond Blue Smith, also known as "Baby Blue", was hit with federal charges after investigators say he attempted to obtain $24 million in PPP funds to buy lavish items, including a Ferrari.

Smith, 36, is accused of fraudulently obtaining a coronavirus relief loan and then using the money to purchase a $96,000 Ferrari among other luxury items.

Smith, of Miramar, Florida, along with Tonye C. Johnson, of Pennsylvania, appeared before a U.S. Magistrate Judge in Georgia on Monday.

According to the federal complaint, Smith and Johnson falsified loan documents to obtain a $426,717 loan under the Federal Paycheck Protection Program for his company Throwbackjersey.com LLC.

The Paycheck Protection Program is part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, signed into law by President Trump to help small businesses suffering from the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Smith also applied for another loan in the amount of $708,065 for another company, Blue Star Records LLC. And he allegedly applied for loans in the names of other individuals, using falsified documents.

The Ferrari and other luxury items, as well as his bank accounts were seized by the feds.

Ray Tamarra/Getty Images

Smith, 2nd from right, is best known as a member of R&B/hip hop group Pretty Ricky. The other members are (L-R) Slick 'Em, Spectacular and Pleasure.

The group enjoyed modest success in the mid-2000s with their platinum singles "Grind With Me" and "On The Hotline".

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Former Love & Hip-Hop: Atlanta cast member Maurice "Mo" Fayne, pictured with ex-girlfriend Karlie Redd, has been indicted by the feds for running a Ponzi scheme that netted over $5 million for his trucking business.

Fayne was indicted on Wednesday by a federal grand jury, Page Six reports. Fayne, of Dacula, Georgia, was arrested on May 11 and charged with defrauding a bank to get over $3 million from the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

Fayne reportedly told the bank he needed the cash to pay 120 employees of his trucking company. But the feds say the trucking company did not turn a profit.

He allegedly spent over $2 million in coronavirus relief funds on jewelry, a Rolex wristwatch, cars, and child support payments.

Federal agents served a search warrant on Fayne's Dacula home, where they recovered $80,000 in cash, including $9,400 that Fayne had in his pockets, and a 2019 Rolls Royce Wraith with the dealer tag still on it.

In addition to bank fraud, he was charged with running a six-year Ponzi scheme to cover large gambling debts, prosecutors said.

The aspiring rapper allegedly convinced 20 individuals to invest $5 million in his trucking business.

He then transferred the $5 million to a casino to cover his gambling debts and entertainment expenses, including hotel suites.

"Fayne used the investors' money to pay his personal debts and expenses, and to fund an extravagant lifestyle for himself," prosecutors said in a statement.

Fayne is out on bond, according to court records.

Paras Griffin/Getty Images

A reality TV personality who starred in VH1's Love & Hip-Hop: Atlanta has been arrested and charged with misusing over $2 million from the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

Maurice "Mo" Fayne, of Dacula, Georgia, was charged with bank fraud for allegedly spending over $2 million in coronavirus relief funds on jewelry, cars and late child support payments.

Fayne submitted an application for a $3.7 million bailout loan under the name Flame Trucking, claiming he needed the cash to pay his 107 employees with an average monthly payroll of $1,490,200.

In submitting the application to United Community Bank, Fayne certified that he would use the money to "retain workers and maintain payroll or make mortgage interest payments, lease payments, and utility payments, as specified under the PPP guidelines.

UCB Bank immediately funded the loan in the amount of $2,045,800, and Fayne allegedly went on a shopping spree.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) said he immediately spent $85,000 on jewelry, including a Rolex Presidential wristwatch, a diamond bracelet for a lucky lady, a 5.73-carat diamond pinky ring for himself and a luxury vehicle worth over $300,000.

The feds say he also spent $40,000 on child support.

Acting on a tip, the feds interviewed Fayne on May 6, whereupon he allegedly lied about what he did with the money.

Fayne told federal investigators that he spent the $2,045,800 loan on payroll and other expenses for his trucking company. He denied spending the cash on luxury items for himself.

Federal agents soon served a search warrant on Fayne's Dacula home. There they recovered $80,000 in cash, including $9,400 that Fayne had in his pockets. And they seized a 2019 Rolls Royce Wraith, which still had the dealer tag on it.

The MSRP for a base Rolls Royce Wraith without options is $327,000.

Agents also executed seizure warrants for three bank accounts that Fayne owned or controlled and seized approximately $503,000 in PPP funds.

None of the expenditures were authorized under the CARES Act guidelines. The money is intended to go to small businesses for employe retention, mortgage insurance, rent and other allowable business expenses.

The loan is forgiven if used within eight weeks to retain employees.

"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.

"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."

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Photos: Instagram.com

A former bank employee is accused of stealing more than $88,000 from a North Carolina bank, then posting photos of the stolen loot on social media.

Arlando Henderson, 29, was arrested by the FBI in San Diego, California on Dec. 4. A criminal indictment was unsealed in federal court in Charlotte, NC following his arrest.

According to the indictment, Henderson was employed by the financial institution in Charlotte, and had access to the bank vault.

On 18 separate occasions, Henderson stole cash from customer deposit boxes in the bank's vault.

Henderson then posted photos of himself flashing the cash on social media. Henderson reportedly used the cash for personal expenses and to make a $20,000 down payment on a new Mercedes-Benz.

The indictment also alleges Henderson committed fraud by falsifying documents to obtain a car loan at another bank for the balance owed on the Mercedes.

Bank officials became suspicious after Henderson - by then an ex-employee - posted photos of himself flashing stacks of cash on his Facebook and Instagram accounts.

The aspiring rapper also posted photos of himself posing next to a white 2019 Mercedes-Benz.

Henderson captioned one photo: "I make it look easy but this... really a PROCESS."

"Throughout July and August 2019, Henderson used a social media account to post several pictures of him holding large stacks of cash," the indictment reads.

The feds allege Henderson "destroyed certain documents" and "made, or caused others to make, false entries in the bank's books and records to cover up the thefts."

Henderson had an initial appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Gallo, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California earlier this month.

He is charged with two counts of financial institution fraud, 19 counts of theft, embezzlement and misapplication, and 12 counts of making false entries.

The felony charges carry a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine for each count. He is also charged with transactional money laundering, which carries additional penalties of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
 

Copyright Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to the photograph(s) used in this post. Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act of 1976, allowance is made for "fair use” of photographs for purposes such as parody, criticism, commentary, news reporting, education, and research.

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