California rapper who sang about stealing COVID-19 aid collected over $700K, feds say

  • In US
  • 2020-10-16 23:13:37Z
  • By Miami Herald

A California rapper who sang about getting rich off COVID-19 aid was arrested in Las Vegas, federal authorities say.

Fontrell Antonio Baines, 31, who lives in Hollywood Hills, posted music videos to YouTube and Instagram under his stage name "Nuke Bizzle" with stacks of envelopes from the California Employment Development Department, or EDD, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

In a song titled "EDD," Baines rapped that he'd "go to the bank with a stack of these" envelopes - apparently debit cards sent to unemployed workers - and cash them, officials say.

"You gotta sell cocaine, I just file a claim ..." another rapper in the video sings.

As it turns out, Baines was stealing COVID-19 unemployment benefits, authorities say. Baines is accused of obtaining 92 debit cards loaded with $1.2 million from addresses he had access to in Beverly Hills and Koreatown, authorities say. Baines and others withdrew about $704,000 from the debit cards.

When he was arrested in Las Vegas, Baines had eight debits cards, seven of which had the names of other people, authorities say.

Baines is charged with access device fraud, aggravated identity theft and interstate transportation of stolen property.

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