Rapper Nuke Bizzle, who boasted in a YouTube video about getting rich by filing false unemployment claims, was arrested Friday (October 16) on charges of fraud after applying for more than $1.2 million in jobless benefits.
Bizzle, whose real name is Fontrell Antonio Baines, allegedly obtained the benefits in part by using stolen identities under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), according to a news release from the Department of Justice U.S. Attorney’s Office in California.
The Memphis-based rapper, who resides in Hollywood Hills in Los Angeles, California, was taken into custody on September 23 and charged with access device fraud, aggravated identity theft, and interstate transportation of stolen property, which are all felonies, the release states.
If convicted, Baines could receive a maximum sentence of 22 years in federal prison.
In the music video “EDD,” which was uploaded to YouTube, Bizzle makes a reference to the California Employment Development Department, and raps about doing “my swagger for EDD.” He’s also seen holding up a stack of benefits envelopes and bank cards. He adds he’s getting rich by "go(ing) to the bank with a stack of these.”
The criminal complaint alleges Baines, who currently lives in the Hollywood Hills, was involved in a scheme to fraudulently obtain unemployment insurance benefits under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.
“Baines allegedly exploited the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) provision of the CARES Act, which is designed to expand access to unemployment benefits to self-employed workers, independent contractors, and others who would not otherwise be eligible,” federal officials said, according to the Los Angeles Times.
KCBS reports that after being arrested by Las Vegas police while riding in a Cadillac Escalade, Baines was found to be in possession of eight EDD debit cards, seven of which were in the names of other people.
Las Vegas police also found $49,734 stashed under Baines’ seat, according to the affidavit. Baines has since pleaded not guilty to the charges related to the arrest and was released on bail, the Times reports.