Reality TV star and rapper Maurice “Mo” Fayne has been sentenced to 17½ years in prison for multiple charges including bank fraud and conspiracy for the misuse of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and wire fraud relating to the multimillion dollar Ponzi scheme, said the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of Georgia Wednesday.
Fayne, a star on VH1’s “Love & Hip Hop Atlanta,” submitted a $3.7 million PPP loan application to United Community Bank in April 2020. The loans were meant to help businesses struggling during the pandemic. Fayne claimed that his trucking business had “107 employees and an average payroll of $1,490,200” and said that he would use the loan to “retain workers and maintain payroll or make mortgage interest payments, lease payments, and utility payments related to his trucking business,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.
However, he ended up using the loan for “improper purposes,” including paying overdue child support, leasing a Rolls-Royce, starting a new business in Arkansas and buying custom jewelry.
“Fayne planned to use the PPP program as a cover for his long-running Ponzi scheme,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Kurt R. Erskine. “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 pleaded guilty in May to conspiracy and wire fraud for his role in the Ponzi scene, bank fraud and making false claims to a financial institution, according to the Justice Department.
Fayne had run a multimillion dollar Ponzi scheme from March 2013 to May 2020, and defrauded more than 20 people who had invested in his trucking business, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office statement.
“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.”