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A Hollywood Hills rapper has been arrested after fraudulently claiming more than $ 1.2 million in unemployment benefits, sometimes using stolen identities, officials said on Friday.
Rapper Nuke Bizzle, whose real name is Fontrell Antonio Baines, 31, “bragged in a YouTube video clip about getting rich committing unemployment benefit fraud,” the Justice Department said.
He was later arrested on suspicion of obtaining debit cards from the California Employment Development Department, issued to others, including those whose identities had been stolen.
Baines, a native of Memphis, Tennessee, received at least 92 EDD debit cards loaded with over $ 1.2 million and mailed to addresses he had access to in Beverly Hills and Koreatown, according to a DOJ . Press release.
The rapper and others involved were able to access more than $ 704,000 of the amount by making cash withdrawals with debit cards, including in Las Vegas, and using the cards to pay for goods and services, officials said.
“Baines allegedly exploited the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) provision of the CARES Act, which aims to expand access to unemployment benefits to self-employed workers, independent contractors and others who do not. would otherwise not be eligible, ”federal officials said.
In one Musical clip titled EDD, we see Baines wielding what appears to be a stack of unemployment agency envelopes and rapping, My swagger for EDD “and” get rich from EDD. “
Another rapper in the video said at one point you have to sell cocaine, I just filed a complaint.
Las Vegas police arrested Baines on September 23, finding he had seven debit cards on behalf of other people, according to the Department of Justice.
Baines faces charges related to access device fraud, aggravated identity theft and interstate transportation of stolen goods. He could face a legal maximum sentence of 22 years in federal prison if convicted of all charges.
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