Rapper 'Nuke Bizzle' says 'everybody' was stealing pandemic money ahead of fraud sentencing
Baines, who was arrested on fraud charges in October 2020 after bragging about his illegal activities in a music video, pleaded for leniency.
Fontrell Baines, a rapper with the stage name "Nuke Bizzle," said he stole pandemic relief funds in part because "everybody around was doing it."
Baines, who was arrested on fraud charges in October 2020 after bragging about his illegal activities in a music video, pleaded for leniency and explained his rationale behind his crime ahead of his Dec. 7 sentencing, The Washington Times reported.
Baines said he started taking unemployment benefit cards for himself during the pandemic after he agreed to let his friends use his address to scam the system. More than $700,000 in benefits were paid to his address before he was arrested.
When he noticed how much money his friends were making, Baines said he started taking the cards for himself and telling his friends they "never made it."
"It was hard to resist the money that I could get from the cards especially when everybody around was doing it," he said.
"I made a rap video about it because the rap industry has a tendency in it to glorify crime and I got caught up in that, but another thing that rappers rap a lot about is prison and now I’m caught up in that too," Baines said about his YouTube music video titled, "EDD," after California's Employment Development Department.
Baines' attorney asked the judge for a 70-month sentence after his client pleaded guilty in July 2022 to mail fraud and unlawful firearm possession.
Up to $100 billion is estimated to have been lost due to fraud during the COVID pandemic, according to federal authorities.