California rapper Nuke Bizzle, who boasted in lyrics about getting rich from unemployment fraud, is federally charged with stealing $1.2 million in pandemic jobless benefits
- Fontrell Antonio Baines, aka ‘Nuke Bizzle’, was arrested last month in Las Vegas
- Prosecutors say he used stolen identities to file for $1.2 million in benefits
- He appeared to boast of the scam in a music video released on September 10
- ‘You gotta sell cocaine, I just file a claim,’ states part of the lyrics of the song
Fontrell Antonio Baines, the 31-year-old rapper known as ‘Nuke Bizzle’, was arrested on September 23
A Los Angeles rapper has been arrested on federal charges of stealing jobless benefits, weeks after he released a song boasting of getting wealthy by the very same scheme.
Fontrell Antonio Baines, the 31-year-old rapper known as ‘Nuke Bizzle’, was arrested on September 23 in Las Vegas and charged with access device fraud, aggravated identity theft, and interstate transportation of stolen property.
Federal prosecutors said on Friday that Baines, a Memphis native residing in Hollywood Hills, fraudulently applied for more than $1.2 million in jobless benefits, including by using stolen identities.
According to a warrant affidavit, Baines boasted of his ability to defraud the California Employment Development Department (EDD) in a music videohe released on September 10, titled EDD.
Federal prosecutors said on Friday that Baines, a Memphis native residing in Hollywood Hills, fraudulently applied for more than $1.2 million in jobless benefits, including by using stolen identities
In the music video, he brags about doing ‘my swagger for EDD’ and holds up a stack of envelopes from EDD, revealing his plans to ‘go to the bank with a stack of these’ – presumably a reference to the pre-paid debit cards that come in the mail.
‘I just got rich off of EDD…I just woke up to 300 Gs,’ Baines continues in the song.
A second rapper in the video intones, ‘You gotta sell cocaine, I just file a claim….’
Baines is accused of exploiting the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance provision of the CARES Act, which is designed to expand access to unemployment benefits to the self-employed and gig workers.
Prosecutors say that Baines applied for EDD debit cards in the names of third-parties, including identity theft victims, which were mailed to addresses which Baines had access to in Beverly Hills and Koreatown.
According to a warrant affidavit, Baines boasted of his ability to defraud the California Employment Development Department (EDD) in a music video he released on September 10, titled EDD
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.
Baines and his conspirators allegedly accessed more than $704,000 of these benefits through cash withdrawals, including in Las Vegas, as well as purchases of merchandise and services.
When Baines was arrested, he possessed eight EDD debit cards, seven of which were in the names of other persons, the affidavit states.
He was due to make an initial court appearance in Los Angeles on Friday afternoon, and it was unclear if he had an attorney to speak on his behalf.
If convicted on all charges, Baines would face a maximum sentence of 22 years in federal prison.