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Ex-Bears WR Josh Bellamy charged in $24M coronavirus relief scheme

Ex-Bears WR Josh Bellamy charged in $24M coronavirus relief scheme
Former Chicago Bears wide receiver Josh Bellamy (15) was released by the New York Jets on Tuesday. File Photo by Kamil Krzaczynski/UPI | License Photo

Sept. 10 (UPI) -- Former New York Jets and Chicago Bears wide receiver Josh Bellamy was arrested for his alleged involvement in a $24 million scheme to obtain illegal loans intended for coronavirus relief, the U.S. Justice Department announced Thursday.

The 31-year-old Bellamy was charged in a federal criminal complaint with fraud, bank fraud, and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud. According to the Justice Department, he allegedly received more than $1.2 million in fraudulent Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans for his company, Drip Entertainment LLC.

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The Jets released Bellamy -- who is recovering from a shoulder injury -- on Tuesday. According to ESPN, the team was unaware of the arrest at the time of his release.

Bellamy was arrested Thursday morning in Florida and was scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Christopher Tuite of the Middle District of Florida later in the day.

Bellamy allegedly used more than $62,000 in loan money at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Florida, according to the Justice Department. He also is accused of purchasing more than $104,000 in luxury goods -- including purchases at Dior, Gucci and various jewelers -- and withdrawing more than $302,000.

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The Justice Department said ten other defendants were involved in the illegal scheme.

After playing college football at Louisville, Bellamy signed with the Kansas City Chiefs as an undrafted free agent in 2012. He later spent time with the Chargers, Bears, Jets and Washington.

In 78 career games, Bellamy has recorded 78 receptions for 1,019 yards and five touchdowns.

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