Tampa, FL – Former National Football League player Josh Bellamy was sentenced to three years and one month in prison for fraudulently taking more than $1.2 million in COVID-19 relief money.
Bellamy, 32, pleaded guilty in June to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, according to ESPN. Bellamy must pay restitution.
Bellamy made $8.15 million in salary during his eight-year NFL career. He made $450,000 in his final year with the New York Jets in 2020. When he deposited the loan into his personal bank account, he only had a balance of $2.51 in it, according to the Tampa Bay Times.
Bellamy got a Paycheck Protection Program loan of $1.2 million for a DJ service he ran called Drip Entertainment LLC, according to ESPN.
The loan was obtained using falsified documents and other false information.
He told authorities that he paid more than $311,000 to James Tote as a kickback for his assistance in preparing and submitting the loan application, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
The Tampa Bay Times reported that Bellamy helped family members and friends seek fraudulent loans from the Paycheck Protection Program. Bellamy was involved in preparing at least 90 fraudulent applications that totaled as much as $24 million.
Bellamy confessed to using the loan money to purchase personal items such as jewelry and a hotel vacation at a casino, according to ESPN.
The Paycheck Protection Program loan was part of the federal relief package known as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
Bellamy played eight seasons in the NFL with four different teams. His best year was 2017 with the Chicago Bears when he started 15 games and finished with 24 receptions for 376 yards and one touchdown. He finished his career with 78 receptions for 1,019 yards and five touchdowns.