Authorities in Atlanta announced the arrest of the Reality TV Personality, who stars in Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta, for allegedly misusing funds he obtained from a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan he received for his business.
Maurice Fayne, 37, was charged with bank fraud. It is unclear if he has acquired the services of an attorney.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the TV Personality of Atlanta is the sole owner of a Georgia business called Flame Trucking. On April 15, he allegedly submitted a PPP loan application to United Community Bank (UCB) for his business, stating that it employed 107 people and had an average monthly payroll of $1,490,200. He was reportedly seeking a loan of $3,725,500 that would be used to “retain workers and maintain payroll or make mortgage interest payments, and utility payments, as specified under the Paycheck Protection Program Rule.”
The PPP is a COVID-19 relief program for small businesses that was passed under the CARES Act, a law enacted March 29 to provide financial aid to the millions affected by the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic. The CARES Act authorized up to $349 billion in forgivable loans to be given to small business owners through the PPP for job retention and certain other expenses.
The PPP allows qualifying businesses to receive loans with a maturity of two years and an interest rate of one percent. The proceeds of the loan must be used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities. The program allows the interest and principal to be forgiven if businesses spend the funds on those expenses within eight weeks of receipt and use at least 75 percent of the forgiven amount for payroll.
UCB ultimately funded a loan of $2,045,800 for the defendant’s business. Within days of receiving the funds, the defendant is accused of using more than $1.5 million to buy $85,000 in jewelry, lease a 2019 Rolls Royce Wraith, make personal loan payments, and pay $40,000 in child support payments.
“The defendant allegedly took advantage of the emergency lending provision of the Paycheck Protection Program that was intended to assist employees and small businesses battered by the coronavirus,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. Pak. “We will investigate and charge anyone who inappropriately diverts these critical funds for their own personal gain.”
The accused celebrity was questioned by federal agents about the alleged inappropriate payments on May 6. He allegedly admitted to submitting a PPP loan application on behalf of Flame Trucking, but said he had used all of the loan proceeds to pay payroll and other business expenses. He denied using any of the proceeds for his personal debts and expenses.
Federal agents executed a search at the said celebrity’s residence in Dacula, GA, on May 11 and seized approximately $80,000 in cash as well as the jewelry he had allegedly purchased using PPP funds. Agents also executed seizure warrants for three bank accounts controlled by him and seized approximately $503,000 in PPP funds.
“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 department will remain steadfast in our efforts to root out and prosecute frauds against the Paycheck Protection Program.”
Bank fraud is theft crime that occurs when a person knowingly uses fraudulent means to secure a loan or acquire funds from a financial institution. It is a serious crime that can result in high fines and lengthy jail sentences for those convicted. Anyone facing charges of bank fraud should immediately consult an experienced attorney.
South Florida Bank Fraud Attorney