Rapper, reality TV star sentenced to 17 years in prison for PPP loan fraud

An Atlanta-based rapper and reality television star has been sentenced to more than 17 years in prison for his involvement in a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan fraud scheme. 

Maurice Fayne, 38, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Mark Cohen on charges of bank fraud and making false statements to a financial institution in what the Department of Justice (DOJ) described as a Ponzi scheme in a statement on Wednesday. 

Fayne, who is known under his rap alias “Mo Fayne,” starred in VH1’s hit reality television show “Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta.” 

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According to court documents, Fayne ran a multistate scheme from 2013 to 2020 that defrauded more than 20 people who invested in his trucking business, using the money to pay off personal debts and expenses and spending more than $5 million at an Oklahoma casino. 

Fayne also submitted a $3.7 million PPP loan last April to a local bank, falsely claiming that his trucking company had 107 employees and averaged a monthly $1.4 million payroll.

The reality star used the PPP loan on expenses including child-support payments, custom-made jewelry, leasing luxury cars, cash withdrawals and starting a new business in Arkansas, the DOJ said. 

“This sentence should serve notice that the FBI and our federal partners will investigate anyone who misdirects federal emergency assistance earmarked for businesses who need it to stay afloat,” Atlanta-based FBI Special Agent Chris Hacker said. “We won’t tolerate anyone driven by personal greed to pocket American taxpayer money that should be going to those who need it.”

Fayne, who pleaded guilty to the charges in May, will be on 5 years of supervised release after serving his prison time, and was also ordered to pay $4.4 million in restitution to his alleged victims.