In September, Tucker Carlson did a segment during his show on Fox News where he exposed rapper “Nuke Bizzle” for making a video bragging about how he would allegedly “file a claim” and get large sums of money from the COVID-19 jobless relief program.
The rapper, who’s real name is Fontrell Antonio Baines, was arrested and charged yesterday on federal charges of carrying out that very scheme by fraudulently applying for more than $1.2 million in jobless benefits, including by using stolen identities.
On September 23, Las Vegas police first arrested Baines, who had in his possession eight debit cards, seven of which were in the names of other persons, the affidavit states.
According to the DOJ, Baines allegedly exploited the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) provision of the CARES Act, which is designed to expand access to unemployment benefits to self-employed workers, independent contractors, and others who would not otherwise be eligible.
In Carlson’s segment, he mainly focused on California as where the fraud was taking place and according to an affidavit filed with the complaint, Baines possessed and used debit cards pre-loaded with unemployment benefits administered by the California Employment Development Department (EDD).
As reported by Carlson, the debit cards were issued in the names of third-parties, including identity theft victims and the applications for these debit cards listed addresses to which Baines had access in Beverly Hills and Koreatown.
The DOJ press release said that evidence gathered during the investigation established that at least 92 debit cards that had been pre-loaded with more than $1.2 million in fraudulently obtained benefits were mailed to these addresses, according to the affidavit.
The press release also stated that Baines and his co-schemers allegedly accessed more than $704,000 of these benefits through cash withdrawals, including in Las Vegas as well as purchases of merchandise and services.
The criminal complaint against Baines alleges three felony offenses – access device fraud, aggravated identity theft, and interstate transportation of stolen property and if convicted of all of these charges, he would face a statutory maximum sentence of 22 years in federal prison.
Video from the Tucker Carlson episode:
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