If you steal money from the government, it’s best not to brag about it in public. That’s the lesson learned too late by Fontrell Antonio Baines aka Nuke Bizzle of Memphis Tennessee. Last Friday, Baines was arrested in Las Vegas for defrauding the jobless benefits program set up for people who lost work as a result of the pandemic. He allegedly used fraud to collect cards from the California employment department worth $1.2 million.
Who tipped the government off to this crime? Baines himself who appeared in a music video as Nuke Bizzle, bragging about getting rich off EDD:
According to an affidavit filed with the complaint, Baines possessed and used debit cards pre-loaded with unemployment benefits administered by the California Employment Development Department (EDD). The debit cards were issued in the names of third-parties, including identity theft victims. The applications for these debit cards listed addresses to which Baines had access in Beverly Hills and Koreatown.
Evidence gathered during the investigation established that at least 92 debit cards that had been pre-loaded with more than $1.2 million in fraudulently obtained benefits were mailed to these addresses, according to the affidavit. Baines and his co-schemers allegedly accessed more than $704,000 of these benefits through cash withdrawals, including in Las Vegas, as well as purchases of merchandise and services.
The affidavit further alleges that Baines bragged about his ability to defraud the EDD in a music video posted on YouTube and in postings to his Instagram account, under the handles “nukebizzle1” and “nukebizzle23.” For example, Baines appears in a music video called “EDD” in which he boasts about doing “my swagger for EDD” and, holding up a stack of envelopes from EDD, getting rich by “go[ing] to the bank with a stack of these” – presumably a reference to the debit cards that come in the mail. A second rapper in the video intones, “You gotta sell cocaine, I just file a claim….”