Rapper Vontrell Antonio Baines, 33, has been sentenced to more than six years in prison for defrauding a pandemic aid program.
Baines was ordered to pay more than $700,000 in damages and will spend the next 77 months in prison.
Baines, who goes by the stage name “Nuke Bizzle,” previously uploaded a music video in which he rapped that other hustlers had to “sell cocaine” while he only had to “file a claim.” rice field.
The song titled “EDD” is a direct reference to the agency he was swindling from, the California Department of Employment Development.
According to the Justice Department, between July and September 2020, Baines “abused” CARES Act provisions, particularly the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program, to obtain hundreds of thousands of dollars “unqualified.”
Baines used the identities of state-bound individuals (such as non-state resident students) to receive prepaid debit cards at addresses he had access to.
In total, Baines has admitted to filing 92 fraudulent claims for pandemic unemployment assistance. According to the Department of Justice, if Baines succeeded in all his attempts, he would have made about $1.2 million. will be In the end, Baines netted an estimated $704,760. A press release from the Justice Department further explains the lengths it took the rapper to go through with his plan.
Baines defrauded the program to obtain EDD-administered unemployment benefits in the names of third parties, including victims of identity theft. The benefit application also contained false statements regarding the specified applicant’s work history and state residency. By fraud, Baines turned a taxpayer-funded program into “his personal piggy bank,” according to a sentencing memorandum filed by federal prosecutors.
Baines has multiple criminal records, including drug trafficking and possession as a convicted felon, and possession of a firearm. His arrest spanned from Tennessee to Nevada and ended at his home in the Hollywood Hills in October 2020.