Joshua Bellamy, Ex-Jet, Is Sentenced to 3 Years in COVID-19 Aid Scheme

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Joshua Bellamy, Ex-Jet, Is Sentenced to 3 Years in Covid-19 Aid Scheme

Prosecutors say a former NFL wide receiver was sentenced to a little more than three years in jail on Friday for fraudulently receiving more than $1 million in pandemic relief money designed to support suffering companies.

Joshua Bellamy, who played for the Chicago Bears for most of his career but most recently for the New York Jets, was one of 11 persons indicted in a $17 million fraud scam last year.

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Bellamy, 32, received a $1.2 million loan from the Paycheck Protection Program for his business, which he used to buy jewelry and gamble at a casino. According to court filings, he also told others about the scam.

Bellamy pled guilty to one count of wire fraud conspiracy in June.

According to the Justice Department, he was sentenced to 37 months in prison on Friday and will have to pay back $1,246,565 in restitution.

A request for comment from Bellamy’s lawyers was not immediately returned on Friday evening.

According to court paperwork, Bellamy is out on bail and must go to jail by February 15.

According to prosecutors, the overall group charged in September filed dozens of falsified loan applications seeking more than $24 million in Paycheck Protection Program loans. A total of $17 million has been approved.

Those forgiven loans were part of a large rescue package approved by Congress last year to aid struggling companies affected by the Covid-19 outbreak.

Both his lawyers and prosecutors alleged in court records that Bellamy conspired with others who submitted fake or fabricated paperwork to acquire a loan for Bellamy’s firm, Drip Entertainment.

According to papers, the loan application was based on falsehoods concerning payroll and the number of staff he kept.

Bellamy further stated in court filings that he paid a more than $300,000 bribe to another individual, who is also accused, for his assistance in drafting and submitting the loan application with the fraudulent claims.

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He “ultimately is the person who said yes to the fraud that his co-conspirators were offering,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum. While others played key roles in the overall scheme, prosecutors wrote that Bellamy “ultimately is the person who said yes to the fraud that his co-conspirators were offering.”

Bellamy spent five seasons with the Chicago Bears before joining the New York Jets for one season in 2019. He was cut in September 2020, just days before the criminal charges were disclosed, after just two catches for New York that year.

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