‘Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta’ star charged with using COVID-19 relief loan to buy jewelry, gifts

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

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'Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta' star charged with using relief money to buy jewelry

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

A “Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta” cast member has been arrested on federal bank fraud charges in connection to a loan he obtained during the coronavirus pandemic that was supposed to help his employees.

Maurice Fayne, aka "Arkansas Mo", 37, of Dacula, was in court Wednesday.

Prosecutors said he stole money loaned through a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan that was meant to assist hard-hit employees and businesses and used it to buy jewelry and other personal items.

“The defendant allegedly took advantage of the emergency lending provisions of the Paycheck Protection Program that were intended to assist employees and small businesses battered by the coronavirus,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak of the Northern District of Georgia. “We will investigate and charge anyone who inappropriately diverts these critical funds for their own personal gain.”

Fayne is the sole owner of a Georgia corporation called Flame Trucking. Documents said he applied for a loan of $3.74 million that he said would be used to retain workers and maintain payroll and well as make mortgage and utility payments.

The bank ultimately gave him a loan for more than $2 million.

"Within days, Fayne allegedly used more than $1.5 million of the PPP loan proceeds to purchase $85,000 in jewelry, including a Rolex Presidential watch, a diamond bracelet, a 5.73 carat diamond ring for himself, and to pay $40,000 for child support," prosecutors said. "Such payments are not an authorized use of PPP funds under the CARES Act."

Fayne denied using the PPP money to buy things for himself.

Federal agents searched his property on May 11 and seized $80,000 in cash and the jewelry he bought. Agents also found a Rolls-Royce Wraith in the driveway that still had temporary dealer tags on it.

The CARES Act is a federal law enacted on March 29, 2020, designed to provide emergency financial assistance to the millions of Americans who are suffering the economic effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The FBI is investigating the case.

This is a developing story.