“Love & Hip Hop Atlanta” star Maurice “Mo” Fayne has been sentenced to over 17 years in prison for several crimes including defrauding the government’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) of millions and orchestrating a years-long Ponzi scheme.
According to a news release from the U.S. Department of Justice, Fayne was facing over 14 charges, but took a plea deal which ultimately led to him admitting he was guilty of conspiracy and wire fraud, bank fraud and making false statements toa financial institution.
“Fayne planned to use the PPP program as a cover for his long-running Ponzi scheme,” Acting U.S. Attorney Kurt R. Erskine said. “The funds the program supplies serve as a lifeline to many businesses desperately trying to stay afloat during the pandemic, and unfortunately his fraud helped deplete those precious dollars.”
Fayne, who was once engaged to fellow Love & Hip Hop star Karlie Redd, submitted a fraudulent application for his trucking company on April 15, 2020, requesting more than $3 million in funding to pay business expenses and retain employees.
At the time, the Love & Hip Hop Atlanta star claimed to have 107 employees and he was given over $2 million by the bank. Instead of using the money as described, Fayne began extravagantly spending on the personal purchases including $85,000 on custom jewelry including a Rolex presidential watch, diamond bracelet and diamond ring; $40,000 on past-due child support; $136,000 to lease a Rolls-Royce; $50,000 to pay restitution for a previous fraud case, &907,000 to start a new business in Arkansas and more.
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When he was first interviewed by federal agents in May, Fayne denied using the PPP funding for himself. Shortly thereafter, Fayne used his cell phone to look up countries with no extradition laws, Fox 5 Atlanta reported. Federal agents raided his home and arrested him soon after.
Fayne was also convicted of running a Ponzi scheme from 2013 to 2019 in which he defrauded more than 20 investors of money, which he also used to fund his extravagant personal lifestyle.
The DOJ said Fayne’s case should serve as a warning to anyone who’s misused PPP funds for personal gain.
“This sentence should serve notice that the FBI and our federal partners will investigate anyone who misdirects federal emergency assistance earmarked for businesses who need it to stay afloat,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “We won’t tolerate anyone driven by personal greed to pocket American taxpayer money that should be going to those who need it.”
“Lying to gain access to SBA’s pandemic response programs is not without consequence,” added SBA OIG’s Eastern Region Special Agent in Charge Amaleka McCall-Brathwaite. “OIG will relentlessly pursue evidence of fraud against SBA’s programs aimed at assisting the nation’s small businesses struggling with the pandemic challenges. I want to thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office for its leadership and dedication to pursuing justice.”
In addition to the 17-and-a-half year prison sentence, Fayne must serve five additional years of probation. He has been ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $4,465,865.55 to the victims.
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