A reality television star from Dacula has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges including bank fraud, making a false statement to a federally-insured financial institution and money laundering, all in connection with a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan.
Maurice Fayne, age 37, who also goes by the name Arkansas Mo on the show Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta, was indicted on the above charges on June 24, 2020. Fayne also faces a charge of wire fraud in connection with a Ponzi scheme.
A news release from United States Attorney BJay Pak’s office states that Fayne posed as the owner of a profitable trucking business, Flame Trucking, from August 2014 until May 2020. During this time, Fayne convinced 20 individuals to invest more than $5 million in this false business, promising in return to use the money to purchase and operate trucks.
Instead, Fayne used the investors’ money to fund his own personal lifestyle, including wiring more than $5 million to a casino to cover personal gambling and entertainment expenses.
Then on April 15, 2020, Fayne signed and submitted a PPP application to United Community Bank on behalf of his trucking company. Fayne claimed that the business had 107 employees and an average monthly payroll of nearly $1.5 million, when in truth the business never generated enough profit to cover expenses.
Fayne requested a loan of over $3.7 million to cover business expenses, but after receiving the PPP loan used it for purchases including:
· $40,000 for past-due child support
· $50,000 for restitution owed in a previous fraud case
· $65,000 in 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
Fayne allegedly structured the above transactions to conceal details about them, which caught the attention of representatives of United Community Bank. When representatives of the bank asked to see additional information on Flame Trucking’s expenses, Fayne submitted fraudulent bank statements from October, November and December of 2019. These false statements were supposedly from Flame Trucking’s account with Arvest Bank, which was shut down in September of 2019.
When interviewed by federal agents, Fayne claimed he used all funds from the PPP loan for expenses relating to Flame Trucking. Fayne denied using any of the loan for personal expenses, however during their investigation, federal agents seized the following from 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
This case is still under investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, along with the Atlanta Complex Financial Crimes Task Force, Gwinnett County Sheriff’s Office and the Small Business Administration-Office of the Inspector General.
The indictment only contains charges and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.