Love & Hip Hop Atlanta star, Maurice Fayne, aka Arkansas Mo, has pleaded guilty after being arrested and charged with federal bank fraud, for misusing funds from a COVID-19 emergency loan.
He was approved for over $2 million in Paycheck Protection Program funds last year and allegedly used the cash to buy luxury cars and $85,000 worth of jewelry.
Fayne submitted a PPP loan application to to cover payroll for 107 employees and other business expenses for his company, Flame Trucking, in April 2020, claiming that the loan would be used to “retain workers and maintain payroll or make mortgage interest payments, lease payments, and utility payments, as specified under the Paycheck Protection Program Rule,” according to the affidavit connected to the criminal complaint.
Fayne then proceeded to use the $1.5 million loan to buy $85k in jewelry, including a Rolex watch, a diamond bracelet, and a 5.73 carat diamond ring, according to the 2020 press release.
“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 in the press statement. “We will investigate and charge anyone who inappropriately diverts these critical funds for their own personal gain.”
Fayne’s attorney placed blame on “considerable confusion” surrounding the PPP guidelines, in a statement to CNN.
“There has been considerable confusion among small business owners about PPP guidelines — particularly around the question of whether and how business owners are permitted to pay themselves a salary or take an owner’s draw. I hope these issues to be better fleshed out in the weeks and months to come,” Fayne’s lawyer, Tanya Miller, said in the statement.
Fayne pled guilty to 6 counts of federal bank fraud, according to documents obtained by TMZ. Fayne has been behind bars since December, for violating his bond. The VH1 star’s sentencing is scheduled for September.
Fayne appeared on VH1 reality series, Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta — during Season 8, alongside his love interest and longtime cast member, Karli Redd.