A man named Fontrell Antonio Baines has been arrested for aggravated identity theft, access device fraud, and interstate transportation of stolen property.
ABC News reported that Baines, who goes by the stage name “Nuke Bizzle,” was charged with the three federal crimes after using stolen identities to receive more than $1.2 million in unemployment benefits under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
The rapper’s arrest comes after he bragged about his scam in one of his music videos. In the music video, Baines holds up envelopes from the California Employment Development Department (EDD) and brags about doing “my swagger for EDD.”
The rapper’s lyrics appear to suggest he gets his money from the debit cards that are mailed out.
“Baines bragged about his ability to defraud the ‘EDD’ in a music video posted on YouTube and in postings to his Instagram account, under the handles ‘nukebizzle1’ and ‘nukebizzle23,’” the DOJ started.
The 31-year-old was arrested on Sept. 23 in Las Vegas, where he had eight debit cards in his possession, seven of which were stolen.
“Baines possessed and used debit cards pre-loaded with unemployment benefits administered by the California Employment Development Department (EDD),” the DOJ announced at the time of his arrest.
“The debit cards were issued in the names of third-parties, including identity theft victims. The applications for these debit cards listed addresses to which Baines had access in Beverly Hills and Koreatown.”
Prosecutors accused Baines–who is from Memphis, Tennessee, but resides in the Hollywood Hills neighborhood of California–of violating the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.
The provision of the CARES Act was made to help self-employed workers, independent contractors, and others who would otherwise be considered ineligible to receive unemployment benefits.
Baines reportedly accessed more than $704,000 of illegally obtained benefits by making purchases, cash withdrawals, and other methods.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office stated Baines could face up to 22 years in federal prison if convicted.
Who Is Fontrell Baines? Rapper Nuke Bizzle Arrested After Bragging About Scamming Government The British Journal Editors and Wire Services/ International Business Times.