Rapper who bragged about getting rich from an unemployment scam arrested for fraud


A rapper who made a music video to brag about getting rich from coronavirus unemployment benefits was arrested for fraudulently applying for more than $1.2 million in aid, the Justice Department announced Friday.

Fontrell Antonio Baines, who uses the stage name “Nuke Bizzle,” was arrested in connection with an alleged scheme to fraudulently obtain unemployment insurance benefits under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).

The 31-year-old, who currently lives in California, had allegedly applied for more than $1.2 million in jobless benefits, according to prosecutors.

Baines possessed and used 92 debit cards issued by the California Employment Development Department (EDD) in the names of third-parties, including victims of identity left.

The rapper and his co-schemers allegedly accessed more than $704,000 of those benefits through cash withdrawals, including in Las Vegas, as well as purchases of merchandise and services.

Baines bragged about his ability to defraud the EDD in a music video featuring Fat Wizza posted on YouTube on Sept. 11.

In the video, he boasts about doing “my swagger for EDD.” He holds up envelopes from the agency and says he’s getting rich by “go[ing] to the bank with a stack of these.”

“You gotta sell cocaine, I just file a claim,” a second rapper says. 

Baines was arrested by Las Vegas police on Sept. 23 and was in possession of eight debit cards, seven of which were in the names of other people, according to the statement.

He faces three felony offenses including access device fraud, aggravated identity theft and interstate transportation of stolen property. If convicted of all of these charges, Baines would face a statutory maximum sentence of 22 years in federal prison.

Tags California California Employment Development Department CARES Act coronavirus unemployment benefits COVID-19 pandemic EDD Justice Department Las Vegas Los Angeles Nuke Bizzle Rap music

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