Rapper Nuke Bizzle, whose real name is Fontrell Antonio Baines, 33, is from Tennessee and wrote a song that broadcasted how he became rich because of the pandemic relief program.
On Wednesday, he was sentenced to over six years in prison. He must also pay over $700,000 in restitution to the California Employment Development Department.
Baines pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud from July 2022. He was also charged with unlawful possession of a firearm, ammunition by a convicted felon, and possession of oxycodone with intent to distribute.
The Department of Justice noted that Baines misused the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program to receive over $700,000. Baines confessed to obtaining and using debit-cards pre-loaded with unemployment benefits issued by California EDD. The debit cards were given under the names of third parties, including individuals affected by identity theft. The applications for the debit cards contained addresses to residences that Baines could access in Beverly Hills and Koreatown.
In one case, Baines is said to have used the identity of a man in Missouri who had gone to school for a short time but was never employed. He used it to submit an application for unemployment benefits. In September 2020, Baines used a debit card that had the man’s name on it to withdraw about $2,500.
In the music recording for his song “EDD,” Baines discusses doing “my swagger for EDD,” and displayed stacks of envelopes from EDD, stating that he planned to go “to the bank with a stack of these.”