New York Jets wide receiver Josh Bellamy in action before an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles, on October 6, 2019, in Philadelphia.

NFL free agent Josh Bellamy, who was released from the New York Jets on Tuesday, was charged in a $24 million PPP coronavirus relief loan scheme on Thursday. 

Prosecutors in the Southern District of Florida say Bellamy and 10 other defendants submitted at least 90 loan applications using falsified bank statements and payroll tax forms.

According to a criminal complaint, Bellamy obtained a PPP loan of $1,246,565 for his company, Drip Entertainment LLC. 

Prosecutors say he used $104,000 of the loan to buy goods from Dior, Gucci, and jewelers, and spent $62,774 on a trip to the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.

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NFL free agent Josh Bellamy has been charged in a $24 million coronavirus relief fraud scheme, in which prosecutors say he used funds he illegally obtained to buy jewelry and take a trip to a casino.

Federal prosecutors in the Southern District of Florida say Bellamy, who was cut by the New York Jets earlier this week, conspired with others to obtain fraudulent Paycheck Protection Program loans.

According to a criminal complaint, Bellamy conspired with 10 other defendants who submitted at least 90 loan applications as part of the $24 million scheme. The loans were taken from the $600 billion the US government set aside in the CARES Act to help small businesses suffering financially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“To inflate the size of these PPP loans, and the corresponding kickbacks, the conspirators relied on a variety of false statements, including by submitting falsified bank statements and payroll tax forms,” the complaint reads. “For example, the conspirators used nearly identical versions of the same fabricated bank statements, recycled in the PPP applications for multiple companies with minor changes.”

Bellamy obtained a PPP loan worth $1,246,565 for his company, Drip Entertainment LLC, and used the money to go to the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, buy luxury goods, and hand out money to family and friends.

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Prosecutors say he used $104,000 of the loan to buy goods from Dior, Gucci, and jewelers, and spent $62,774 on a trip to the casino. He also withdrew $302,000 in cash, prosecutors say.

Bellamy, 31, has been charged with wire fraud, bank fraud, and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud in the scheme. He was arrested on Thursday morning.

Josh Bellamy is a good and decent man, who is presumed innocent by our laws,” Bellamy’s lawyer Diego Weiner told Insider. “We hope that the public will give him the benefit of the doubt at this time. All too often, professional athletes are taken advantage of by people who are purportedly acting on their behalf as agents or advisors.”

A source close to the New York Jets told ESPN that the team was not aware of the scheme when they released him on Tuesday. Bellamy is currently recovering from a shoulder injury and had previously been put on the Jets’ list of players unable to perform.

This article has been updated.

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