Rapper Boasted Committing COVID-19 Relief Fraud in Music Video Sentenced to Over 6 Years

A rapper from Memphis who boasted about committing Covid-19 in a music video received a sentence of more than six years in jail on Wednesday, according to the prosecution.

The 77-month sentence also includes guilty pleas to drug and weapons charges in other trials, according to the United States (US) Los Angeles attorney’s office reported.

‘Nuke Bizzle’

Fontrell Antonio Baines, also known as “Nuke Bizzle,” allegedly used stolen identities or other people’s names in a conspiracy to steal more than $700,000 in Covid-19 unemployment payments, according to a report from NBC News.

According to court documents, Baines, 33, boasted about the fraud in videos posted to YouTube and Instagram. The fraud occurred between July 2020 and September of that year.

The name of California’s Employment Development Department, which is in charge of unemployment payments, was referenced in a song that was posted online in September 2020 under the title “EDD.”

Prosecutors used the footage as evidence in court records. It shows people perusing their mail, working on computers, and holding handfuls of $100 dollars. Another artist raps, “You gotta sell drugs, and I can simply submit a claim,” at one point.

Baines’ federal public defenders on Wednesday declined to comment.

In addition to the Covid fraud case, Baines admitted to illegally possessing a pistol and ammunition by a felon who had already committed a crime, as well as possessing oxycodone with the purpose of distributing it, according to the U.S. The Central District of California’s attorney’s office reported.

Expressed Regret

In a letter to the judge, Baines expressed regret. “Every time I reflect on what I did, I regret what I did and the effect my crime had on other people,” he wrote.

Baines received a $704,760 reparation order in addition to his prison term.

The COVID-19 pandemic, which crippled significant portions of the economy, was supported by significant financial resources allocated by Congress for people affected.

According to estimates from the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Labor, there was $872.5 billion allocated for pandemic unemployment insurance, and at least $163 billion in payments may have been awarded inadvertently, perhaps through fraud.