Lil Wayne Accused Of Lying About Drug Use To Obtain $9M Government Loan During Pandemic

The rap icon’s company received $8.9 million from the Smalls Business Association under the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program, which was designed to help struggling music venues avoid bankruptcy.

Hip Hop legend  Lil Wayne is accused of lying about drug use to secure $9 Million in pandemic loans from the government, Business Insider reports.

In 2021,  Lil Wayne, whose real name is Dwayne Carter, informed the government that his touring company was a "drug-free workplace” and that the "dangers" of drugs such as weed was “communicated to employees.” If anyone violated the rules, they would be punished or forced to go to a drug rehabilitation center.

Eventually, Lil Wayne's company Young Money Touring Inc. was cut a $8.9 million check by the Smalls Business Administration.

According to the report, the SBA did not thoroughly investigate the claims of Lil Wayne’s company. Last year, the inspector general of the agency said that employees had just four hours to give a complete review of the applications.

The SBA also said that the drug certification process was “fairly narrow”  and it didn't cover "personal actions" of people such as Lil Wayne, or “any drug use outside the period from March 2020 to June 2022.”

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Harold Pollack, a public-health expert at the University of Chicago,  argued that the drug use of celebrities is not viewed in the same way as the rest of society.

"When you have social status, your substance use is treated in a different way," Pollack said. "They don't brutalize a lot of celebrities for behaviors that we would very harshly treat in people with less prestige."

Lil Wayne’s company received the funds under the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant program, which was designed to help struggling music venues avoid bankruptcy. In 2023, $200 million in payments were made to A-list artists, who were already clients of NKSFB, a Los Angeles asset-management firm known for its celebrity clientele.

A spokesperson for the SBA, who declined to comment on Lil Wayne’s company, noted that some funds have already been returned because of violations of the drug-free certification.

"The SBA's process of monitoring and auditing of grant recipients is actively ongoing. To date, about $40 million has been returned from SVOG grantees and additional files have been referred for ongoing criminal investigation or civil recovery," the agency said. "To date, none of the recoveries relate to the drug-free certification."

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