The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Federal prosecutors have charged a “Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta” star with bank fraud after authorities said he used funds from the Paycheck Protection Program to purchase expensive jewelry, lease a car and make child support payments.
Maurice Fayne, who goes by the name Arkansas Mo on the hit VH1 show, borrowed more than $2 million from the federal program designed to keep struggling businesses afloat amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Justice said Wednesday in a news release.
Authorities said he borrowed the money for his transportation business, Flame Trucking. On his application requesting more than $3.7 million for his company, he said he had 107 employees and a monthly payroll of nearly $1.5 million, prosecutors said.
Fayne certified that the loan proceeds would be used to retain workers, maintain payroll and make payments, the DOJ said in a news release. The reality TV star received just over $2 million.
Within days, however, Fayne allegedly spent more than $1.5 million of the loan, including $85,000 in jewelry, including a Rolex Presidential watch, a diamond bracelet and a 5.73 carat diamond ring for himself, prosecutors said. He’s also accused of leasing a 2019 Rolls Royce and making $40,000 in child support payments.
Fayne appeared on several episodes last season as the love interest of Karlie Redd, one of “Love & Hip Hop’s” longtime cast members.
In a May 6 interview with federal agents, Fayne reportedly admitted submitting a PPP loan application and using the money for his trucking company, but denied using the funds to buy things for himself.
On Monday, authorities searched his Dacula home and seized about $80,000 in cash, including $9,400 that Fayne had in his pockets at the time, authorities said. Agents also executed warrants for three of Fayne’s bank accounts, seizing more than $500,000.
“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,” U.S. Attorney BJay Pak said in a statement. “We will investigate and charge anyone who inappropriately diverts these critical funds for their own personal gain.”
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