A rapper who bragged about fleecing the US Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) on YouTube was arrested for allegedly defrauding the government of $1.2 million in benefits, the Department of Justice (DOJ) disclosed on Friday.
According to a press release, Fontrell Antonio Baines, AKA “Nuke Bizzle,” is accused of fraudulently applied for unemployment benefits using the stolen identities of multiple individuals.
“Baines possessed and used debit cards pre-loaded with unemployment benefits administered by the California Employment Development Department (EDD),” the DOJ said.
“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.”
During the investigation, the DOJ discovered 92 debit cards totaling over $1.2 million in illegally obtained benefits, including $704,000 that was withdrawn and used to purchase merchandise and services.
Baines added fuel to the flames when he bragged about his new-found fortune in a music video posted on YouTube and two of his Instagram accounts.
“For example, Baines appears in a music video called “EDD” in which he boasts about doing “my swagger for EDD” and, holding up a stack of envelopes from EDD, getting rich by ’go[ing] to the bank with a stack of these‘ – presumably a reference to the debit cards that come in the mail,” the DOJ added.
Baines is charged with access device fraud, aggravated identity theft, and interstate transportation of stolen property. If found guilty, he could face a maximum sentence of 22 years in federal prison.