Eighty-five thousand dollars in jewelry. A 2019 Rolls-Royce Wraith luxury coupe. Forty-thousand dollars in child support payments.
Maurice "Mo" Fayne, a trucking company owner who appears regularly on the reality show "Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta," has been charged with using more than $1.5 million in Small Business Administration stimulus funds to enrich himself rather than for paying workers and small business expenses as the program requires.
According to the U.S. attorney's office in the Northern District of Georgia, Fayne is the sole owner of a Georgia corporation called Flame Trucking that received a $2 million bank loan through the SBA's relief package for small businesses, the Paycheck Protection Program.
On May 13 Fayne was arrested and then charged with bank fraud. Prosecutors alleged he used more than $1.5 million on unauthorized purchases including the car, jewelry and child support.
"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. "We will investigate and charge anyone who inappropriately diverts these critical funds for their own personal gain."
Fayne's lawyer, Atlanta attorney Tanya Miller, says he will fight the charges. She issued a statement to The Washington Post saying that she would not try the case through the media and that the government needed to clear up confusion about the stimulus program's rules.
The FBI assisted with the investigation, along with the SBA's Office of Inspector General. Agents searched Fayne's home in Dacula, outside Atlanta, on May 11 and seized "approximately $80,000 in cash, including $9,400 that Fayne had in his pockets." They also used seizure warrants to take control of approximately $503,000 of remaining PPP funds from three of Fayne's bank accounts, according to the U.S. Attorney's office.
"The defendant allegedly egregiously sought personal gain from a program intended to assist hard-working Americans in this challenging time," said Special Agent-in-Charge Kevin Kupperbusch of the SBA's Office of Inspector General.
Fayne, known as "Arkansas Mo" on the show, is one of the only people to be charged with a crime for misuse of funds from the SBA program.
Source: Houston Chronicle