Former Louisville, NFL player sentenced to 37 months for fraud on PP E loan

Used fraud to get $1.2 million loan, convert to own use

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WTVQ) – A former Louisville football star and National Football League player was sentenced Friday to 37 months in federal prison for fraudulently obtaining more than $1.2 million through a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan guaranteed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

According to court documents, 32-year-old Joshua J. Bellamy, of St. Petersburg, Fla., pleaded guilty on June 9 in the Southern District of Florida to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. As part of the fraud scheme, Bellamy obtained a PPP loan of $1,246,565 for his company, Drip Entertainment LLC, using falsified documents and false information.

Bellamy admitted to using the PPP loan proceeds on personal items, such as jewelry, and a stay at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. Bellamy also sought PPP loans on behalf of his family members and close associates.

Bellamy further admitted he paid more than $311,000 to an alleged co-conspirator, James Stote, as a kickback for his assistance in preparing and submitting the fraudulent loan application. In addition to his prison sentence, Bellamy was ordered to serve three years of supervised released and pay $1,246,565 in restitution and $1,246,565 in forfeiture.

Bellamy played college football at Louisville under head coach Charlie Strong. He finished his senior season with 24 receptions, 280 receiving yards, and two receiving touchdowns, according to Wikipedia. Before transferring to Louisville, he played for Butte Community College in Oroville, Calif., and led them to an undefeated JUCO national championship. Professionally he was on the rosters of the Kansas City Chiefs, San Diego Chargers, Chicago Bears, and New York Jets between 2012 and 2020.

In addition, a Florida woman was sentenced on Dec. 9 to two years in federal prison for fraudulently obtaining a PPP loan as part of this criminal scheme. According to court documents, Yashica Bain, 38, of Miramar, Florida, pleaded guilty on Sept. 30 in the Southern District of Florida to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. As part of the fraud scheme, Bain obtained a PPP loan of $415,232 for her company, Microblading Brow Studio LLC, using falsified documents and false information.

Bain used the PPP loan proceeds to enrich herself and others who never worked for her company. She falsely described those payments as “payroll” and “wages” to perpetrate this fraud. Bain admitted that she paid more than $28,000 to Stote as a kickback for his assistance in preparing and submitting the fraudulent loan application. In addition to her prison sentence, Bain was ordered to serve three years of supervised released and pay $415,232 in restitution and $415,232 in forfeiture.

Stote was charged by complaint on June 24, 2020, with wire fraud, bank fraud, and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud. His case remains pending.

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