In March, COVID-19 relief funds and PPP loans were advertised as “no strings attached” on social media and everyone that could sign up did exactly that. The problem here is that the funds were intended to use for your small business and payroll in order to stay above water. Many people had the proper information to file simply from having their own businesses for their career,s even if they had few to literally zero employees.
Since these funds have gone out, we’ve seen again people get caught up with fraud charges from the government time and time. Now, it seems like Pretty Ricky’s Baby Blue is the latest to get caught up, according to NBC Miami.
Diamond Blue Smith, 36, a cast member on “Love & Hip Hop: Miami” and a member of the group Pretty Ricky, was arrested Monday along with 28-year-old Tonye C. Johnson of Pennsylvania for their roles in a $24 million COVID-19 relief fraud scheme. Smith and Johnson both face charges of wire fraud, bank fraud, and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud.
The government alleges Smith — also known as “Baby Blue” — obtained money for a Ferrari by falsifying documents to get a Paycheck Protection Program loan worth nearly $427,000 dollars. He allegedly did the same for another loan worth nearly $1 million.
The FBI’s investigation revealed Smith was allegedly part of a broader scheme convincing others to file for the funds while taking kickbacks. There are at least 11 other defendants.
Nothing that is free is ever actually free, especially when you are lying to get it. Something tells us the FBI is just getting started with these fraud arrests.