Former Bears receiver Josh Bellamy was arrested Thursday morning and charged with wire fraud, bank fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud in a federal criminal complaint, according to the United States Department of Justice.
Bellamy allegedly conspired with others to obtain millions of dollars in fraudulent PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) loans. Bellamy also used his own company, Drip Entertainment LLC., to obtain fraudulent loans.
"The complaint alleges that Bellamy conspired with others to obtain millions of dollars in fraudulent PPP loans," the Department of Justice wrote in its report. "Early in the scheme, Phillip J. Augustin allegedly obtained a fraudulent PPP loan for his talent management company using falsified documents. After submitting that application, Augustin then began to work with other co-conspirators, including Bellamy, on a scheme to submit numerous fraudulent PPP loan applications for confederate loan applicants, in order to receive kickbacks for obtaining the forgivable loans for them.
"Bellamy is alleged to have obtained a PPP loan of $1,246,565 for his own company, Drip Entertainment LLC. Bellamy allegedly purchased over $104,000 in luxury goods using proceeds of his PPP loan, including purchases at Dior, Gucci, and jewelers. He is also alleged to have spent approximately $62,774 in PPP loan proceeds at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, and to have withdrawn over $302,000. Bellamy also allegedly sought PPP loans on behalf of his family members and close associates.
"The complaint alleges that the scheme involved the preparation of at least 90 fraudulent applications, most of which were submitted. Augustin, Bellamy, and other conspirators in the scheme are alleged to have applied for PPP loans that are together worth more than $24 million dollars. Many of those loan applications were approved and funded by financial institutions, paying out at least $17.4 million."
Ten others were charged in this scheme along with Bellamy.
Bellamy, 31, was released by the Jets on Wednesday. He spent five seasons with the Bears from 2014-'18, catching 76 passes for 999 yards and five touchdowns in that span.
Bellamy was scheduled to appear in court Thursday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Christopher Tuite of the Middle District of Florida.
Chris Emma covers the Bears, Chicago’s sports scene and more for 670TheScore.com. Follow him on Twitter @CEmma670.