Ex-NFL receiver sentenced to prison for COVID-19 relief fraud scheme

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This is a 2016 photo of Joshua Bellamy of the Chicago Bears NFL football team. This image reflects the Chicago Bears active roster as of Monday, June 13, 2016 when this image was taken. (AP Photo)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – Former NFL wide receiver Joshua Bellamy has been sentenced to over three years in prison for fraudulently receiving coronavirus relief loans, the U.S. Justice Department announced Friday.

Bellamy, 31, allegedly obtained a PPP loan of $1.2 million for his company, “Drip Entertainment” and used the money to purchase over $104,000 in luxury goods.

According to the report, Bellamy spent over $60,000 of the loan at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Florida.

Bellamy also allegedly sought PPP loans on behalf of his family members and close associates. The Justice Department says Bellamy admitted to paying more than $311,000 to an alleged co-conspirator, James Stote, as a kickback for his assistance in preparing and submitting the fraudulent loan application.

In addition to his 37-month prison sentence, Bellamy was ordered to serve three years of supervised release and pay $2,493,130 in restitution and forfeiture.

Bellamy is a St. Petersburg, Florida, native who played at Boca Ciega High School. He was most recently cut by the New York Jets in 2020. The wide receiver spent five seasons with the Chicago Bears and one season each with the Washington Football Team and the Kansas City Chiefs after playing for the University of Louisville.

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