Reality TV star Maurice Fayne has been indicted on federal charges following accusations made earlier this year for a scheme involving a Georgia trucking company that he owns.
Fayne is charged with bank fraud, making a false statement to a federally-insured financial institution, and money laundering, all in connection with a Paycheck Protection Program loan. Fayne is also charged with wire fraud in connection with a Ponzi scheme.
Fayne posed as the owner of a profitable trucking company, Flame Trucking, from approximately August 2014 through May 2020. He generated over $5 million from investors, who assumed the money would be used for the company to purchase and operate trucks. Instead, Fayne used the money for personal expenses which included paying child support, buying expensive jewelry and gambling.
In April, Fayne also submitted a PPP loan application in the name of Flame Trucking. The application stated that the $3,725,500 loan he was seeking would be used to retain and pay his alleged 107 employees.
He ultimately received a PPP loan in the amount of $2,045,800, personally spending the funds meant to help small business during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Fayne allegedly used PPP loan proceeds to live a luxurious lifestyle that included leasing a Rolls Royce and purchasing expensive jewelry, as well as making payments to individuals involved in a Ponzi scheme,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. Pak in a media release. “The emergency lending provisions of the Paycheck Protection Program were intended to help small businesses survive the COVID-19 pandemic.”
During the investigation, agents seized $617,000 from Fayne’s bank accounts, $136,000 used as a down payment on the Rolls-Royce and nearly $80,000 in cash from his residence.
They also seized eight Kenworth T-680 tractors, six Great Dane refrigerated trailers and more than $80,000 in custom-made jewelry.
Fayne denied using any of the PPP loan proceeds for personal purposes
“Despite the difficult times the recent Coronavirus pandemic has caused, the FBI and our federal partners continue to be vigilant in making sure funds provided by programs like PPP are used as intended,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “We won’t allow anyone’s personal greed to misdirect federal emergency assistance to their own pockets, rather than go to the businesses who need it to stay afloat.”