ATLANTA — A reality television star who appeared on VH1’s “Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta” was indicted Wednesday, June 24, for allegedly using coronavirus relief funds intended to help small businesses survive to pay for luxuries such as a Rolls-Royce and custom jewelry, federal officials said.
Maurice Fayne, also known as “Arkansas Mo,” was arrested in May on federal bank fraud charges arising from a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan that he obtained in the name of Flame Trucking.
In a news release, the Department of Justice said Maurice Fayne, 37, has now been charged with bank fraud, making a false statement to a federally insured financial institution and money laundering.
The charges are related to the Paycheck Protection Program, a federal program designed to help small businesses make ends meet while they were closed or severely restricted because of the coronavirus. He’s also charged with wire fraud in connection with a Ponzi scheme, the release said.
“Despite the difficult times the recent coronavirus pandemic has caused, the FBI and our federal partners continue to be vigilant in making sure funds provided by programs like PPP are used as intended,” Chris Hacker, the special agent in charge of the Atlanta FBI office, said in the news release.
Fayne, was arrested May 11 and according to court records, he’s out on bond. Fayne’s attorney listed on court records did not immediately return a request for comment. Fayne denied in an interview with federal officials that he misused the PPP money, according to the news release.
Federal officials said Fayne posed as the owner of a profitable trucking business from August 2014 through May 2020. But in reality the business never made enough money to cover expenses. Fayne is accused of encouraging people to invest and then using their money to pay for his extravagant lifestyle.
In April 2020, he applied for a $3.7 million PPP loan, saying he had 107 employees at his trucking company, Flame Trucking, and that he’d use the money to pay expenses and retain staff. Instead, federal officials say, he used the money for things like leasing a Rolls-Royce for $136,000, buying $85,000 in custom-made jewelry, and restitution in a previous fraud case.
The Associated Press is an independent global news organization dedicated to factual reporting. Founded in 1846, AP today remains the most trusted source of fast, accurate, unbiased news in all formats and the essential provider of the technology and services vital to the news business. The Trucker Media Group is subscriber of The Associated Press has been granted the license to use this content on TheTrucker.com and The Trucker newspaper in accordance with its Content License Agreement with The Associated Press.