Rapper Arrested For Unemployment Fraud After Rapping About Committing Unemployment Fraud
Fontrell Antonio Baines, a rapper who performs under the name Nuke Bizzle, was arrested for unemployment fraud after rapping about committing unemployment fraud, as The New York Times reports. Baines was charged with three felonies: access device fraud, aggravated identity theft, and interstate transportation of stolen property.
Baines allegedly applied for unemployment benefits from the California Employment Development Department (EDD) using stolen identities, per a statement from the Department Of Justice. He was issued more than $1.2 million in fraudulently obtained benefits through at least 92 different debit cards, of which he cashed in more than $704,000 of them. He obtained them through a federal program that extended unemployment benefits to workers who are self-employed or independent contractors during the pandemic.
He rapped about his actions in the music video for a song featuring Fat Wizza called “EDD” in which he bragged about getting “rich off EDD” and their having “swagger for EDD,” all while holding envelopes from the Employment Development Department. (The video was affixed with a disclaimer: “THIS VIDEO WAS CREATED WITH PROPS AND WAS MADE FOR ENTERTAINMENT PURPOSES.”)
Baines was arrested in Las Vegas in September when he had eight debit cards in his possession, seven of which did not have his name on them. He is based in Los Angeles and is from Memphis. He faces up to 22 years in prison if convicted as charged.