Rapper who boasted about unemployment fraud scheme arrested

Published 11:12 am Monday, October 19, 2020

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WOODLAND HILLS, Calif. (AP) — A Tennessee rapper who boasted in a music video about getting rich from committing unemployment fraud was arrested Friday in Los Angeles.
Fontrell Antonio Baines, 31, was arrested on three felony counts of access device fraud, aggravated identity theft and interstate transportation of stolen property. Baines faces up to 22 years in federal prison, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. Federal prosecutors say that Baines and his co-conspirators fraudulently obtained at least 92 debit cards pre-loaded with more than $1.2 million.
The unemployment debit cards were issued in the names of third-parties, including identity theft victims, prosecutors said. They said the cards were sent to addresses to which Baines had access in Beverly Hills and the Koreatown neighborhood of Los Angeles.
The schemers allegedly accessed more than $704,000 of that money through cash withdrawals, the Los Angeles Daily News reported.
Las Vegas police arrested Baines on Sept. 23 while he had eight debit cards in his possession, seven of which were in the names of other people, according to the affidavit.
Baines goes by the stage name Nuke Bizzle. In posts on Instagram under the accounts “nukebizzle1” and “nukebizzle23,” the rapper bragged extensively about his ability to defraud California’s Employment Development Department. Baines also posted a music video on Youtube which has amassed more than 400,000 views in which he boasts about getting “rich off of EDD.”
“Unemployment so sweet,” Baines says in the video. “We had 1.5 land this week.” A second braggadocious rapper says: “You gotta sell cocaine, I can just file a claim.”

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