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.”