Since the pandemic hit back in March, millions of Americans have filed for unemployment. However, many people took advantage of the system and ran unemployment scams resulting in states like California to temporarily block people from being able to certify for their benefits. This man might have something to do with that.
Fontrell Antonio Baines, 31, who goes by the stage name “Nuke Bizzle” was arrested after applying for $1.2 million in unemployment benefits using stolen identities to take advantage of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance provision under the CARES Act.
Baines, who is originally from Memphis, but resides in Hollywood Hills, “possessed and used debit cards pre-loaded with unemployment benefits administered by the California Employment Development Department (EDD),” according to a statement by the Department of Justice. “The debit cards were issued in the names of third-parties, including identity theft victims. The applications for these debit cards listed addresses to which Baines had access in Beverly Hills and Koreatown.”
Baines had gained access to 92 EDD cards with $1.2 million and accessed $704,000 of unemployment benefits through cash withdrawal. If you thought Baines was smart enough to keep his unemployment scam on the low, then think again. He decided to brag about his crimes in a music video for his song “EDD.”
In the music video, Baines held up stacks of money and unemployment letters. The other artist featured on the song even raps “You gotta sell cocaine, I just file a claim.”
Baines was arrested in Las Vegas and found with eight EDD cards with other peoples name on them. He now faces federal fraud charges and if found guilty, faces 22 years in prison.