Maurice Fayne of “Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta” has been indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly using funds meant for small businesses for personal use, including leasing a 2019 Rolls-Royce and purchasing custom jewelry.
The 37-year-old is charged with bank fraud, making a false statement to a federally-insured financial institution, and money laundering, all in connection with a Paycheck Protection Program loan. In addition, Fayne is charged with wire fraud in connection with a Ponzi scheme.
“The emergency lending provisions of the Paycheck Protection Program were intended to help small businesses survive the COVID-19 pandemic,” U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak said. “Fayne allegedly used PPP loan proceeds to live a luxurious lifestyle that included leasing a Rolls Royce and purchasing expensive jewelry, as well as making payments to individuals involved in a Ponzi scheme. We intend to investigate and charge anyone who inappropriately diverts these critical funds for personal gain.”
Fayne was indicted on June 24. On April 15, 2020, Fayne signed and submitted to United Community Bank a PPP loan application in the name of his trucking business, Flame Trucking, stating that the business had 107 employees and an average monthly payroll of $1,490,200.
The reality TV star received a loan of over $3.7 million and told the bank the loan proceeds 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.”
Instead, Faynes used the money to pay for the following:
♦ $40,000 for past-due child support;
♦ $50,000 for restitution owed in a previous fraud case;
♦ $65,000 i♦ n cash withdrawals;
♦ $85,000 for custom-made jewelry;
♦ $136,000 to lease a 2019 Rolls-Royce;
♦ $230,000 to associates who helped him run a Ponzi scheme;
♦ $907,000 to help an associate start a new business.
“Despite the difficult times the recent Coronavirus pandemic has caused, the FBI and our federal partners continue to be vigilant in making sure funds provided by programs like PPP are used as intended,” Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta Chris Hacker said. “We won’t allow anyone’s personal greed to misdirect federal emergency assistance to their own pockets, rather than go to the businesses who need it to stay afloat.”
Authorities say Fayne allegedly structured those financial transactions to conceal and disguise the nature, location, source, ownership, and control of the proceeds, which raised red flags at UCB. When UCB asked Fayne to provide additional information about Flame Trucking’s finances, Fayne responded by sending UCB what he represented to be October, November, and December 2019 bank statements for Flame Trucking’s account at Arvest Bank. As Fayne knew, however, those bank statements were fraudulent, because Arvest Bank had shut down Flame Trucking’s account in September 2019.
When Fayne was interviewed by federal agents, he claimed that he used all of the PPP loan proceeds to pay payroll and other business expenses incurred by Flame Trucking. Fayne expressly denied using any of the PPP loan proceeds for personal purposes.
During the investigation, federal agents seized the following proceeds of Fayne’s bank fraud scheme:
♦ $617,000 seized from seven bank accounts;
♦ $136,000 used as a down payment on the 2019 Rolls-Royce;
♦ $79,482 in cash seized at Fayne’s residence;
♦ eight Kenworth T-680 trucks;
♦ six Great Dane refrigerated trailers;
♦ a $3,750 diamond ring;
♦ a $24,500 diamond bracelet;
♦ a $52,000 Rolex watch.
Fayne was indicted on June 24.