A Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta personality was arrested on federal bank fraud charges. Maurice “Arkansas Mo” Fayne, who stands accused of using a $2 million Paycheck Protection Program to fund a lavish shopping spree, made a court appearance on Wednesday (May 13).
“The defendant allegedly stole money meant to assist hard-hit employees and businesses during these difficult times, and instead greedily used the money to bankroll his lavish purchases of jewelry and other personal items,” said Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division in a news release from the Justice Department. “The department will remain steadfast in our efforts to root out and prosecute frauds against the Paycheck Protection Program.”
Fayne allegedly blew over $1.5 million on personal items, and child support. Prosecutors accuse him of spending $85,000 on jewelry, which includes a Rolex Presidential watch, a diamond bracelet, and a 5.73 carat diamond ring, and $40,000 to pay child support.
“At a time when small businesses are struggling for survival, we cannot tolerate anyone driven by personal greed, who misdirects federal emergency assistance earmarked for keeping businesses afloat,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI’s Atlanta office.
Though Fayne applied for a $3.7 million PPP loan on behalf of Flaming Trucking, he was approved for $$2,045,800 million. The 37-year-old Georgia native stated that the company had 107 employees and that payroll cost over $1.4 million per month. The PPP loan was to be used to “retain workers and maintain payroll or make mortgage interest payments, lease payments, and utility payments, as specified under the Paycheck Protection Program Rule.”
When interviewed by federal agents earlier in the month, Fayne confirmed that he applied for the PPP loan but denied misusing the funds. He allegedly claimed that the money went to payroll and additional business expenses. Last Monday (May 11), authorities searched Faye’s residence in Dacula, Ga., where they seized approximately $80,000 in cash, which includes $9,400 found in his pockets. Authorities also discovered a 2019 Rolls-Royce Wraith with temporary dealer plates on the vehicle, and seized $503,000 in PPP money from three bank accounts reportedly owned by Fayne.
“There has been considerable confusion among small business owners about PPP guidelines — particularly around the question of whether and how business owners are permitted to pay themselves a salary or take an owner’s draw. I hope these issues to be better fleshed out in the weeks and months to come,” Fayne’s attorney, Tanya Miller, said in a statement to CNN.
“For obvious reasons, we cannot try these allegations in the media,” continued Miller. “We will provide the appropriate response in the proper forum once all the information has been provided to us.”