The Police Use ‘Instagram Wiretap’ To Help Tee Up Fed’s Case Against Rapper For PPP Loan Fraud

The Police Use ‘Instagram Wiretap’ To Help Tee Up Fed’s Case Against Rapper For PPP Loan Fraud


The Police Use 'Instagram Wiretap' To Help Tee Up Fed's Case Against Rapper For PPP Loan Fraud Photo: Orange County Corrections Department

Hip-hop artist Jacquavius “9lokkNine” Smith has learned the hard way about sharing information on social media. The police used an Instagram wiretap to slide into his direct messages and nab him on charges of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan fraud.

9lokkNine, 21, has pleaded guilty to federal charges for guns and covid-19 aid fraud. This is on top of the racketeering and attempted murder charges the Orlando-based artist is already facing.

He fraudulently applied for and received $10,000 in federal PPP funds meant to help struggling businesses affected by the covid-19 pandemic, his plea agreement said, The Orlando Sentinel reported.

The “Why You Lying” artist used the name, social security number, and address belonging to another person to apply for the PPP loan and open a bank account in March 2021, records said. A deposit arrived in the account for more than $10,000 on April 16, records said.

A wiretap of his Instagram revealed 9lokkNine sharing images of the loan application to friends via DMs, “a move that is sparking a bigger conversation about the right to privacy on social media,” Baller Alert reported.

He also pleaded guilty to possession of an unregistered firearm, aggravated identity theft, and felon in possession of a firearm.

9lokkNine had a sawed-off semi-automatic rifle which was not registered to him in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record. The rifle had in fact been stolen during a burglary in 2019, the plea agreement said. The weapon was found in the garage of Smith’s grandparents’ home when the Orlando Police Department served a search warrant, the document said. 9lokkNine’s thumbprint was on the rifle magazine and his DNA was on the grip area, records said.

A judge is scheduled to sentence Smith on Oct. 6.

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Instagram isn’t the only social media platform subject to wiretapping. In 2020, a nine-year legal battle ended when a federal court ruled that Facebook’s online tracking could be considered a violation of anti-wiretapping laws, Futurism reported.

Facebook’s logic was that it was gathering user data. A panel of judges on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that because the Facebook widget was collecting information from people who didn’t click on it, in essence it was a wiretap.