Ayyyeee… What’s Goodie Everyone. So I got some tea and it involves a Love and Hip Hop Atlanta Star Arkansas Mo.
Maurice “Mo” Fayne, a trucking company owner who appears regularly on the reality show “Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta,” has been charged with using more than $1.5 million in Small Business Administration stimulus funds to enrich himself rather than for paying workers and small business expenses as the program requires. According to The Washington Post;
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Northern District of Georgia, Fayne is the sole owner of a Georgia corporation called Flame Trucking that received a $2 million bank loan through the SBA’s relief package for small businesses, the Paycheck Protection Program.
On May 13 Fayne was arrested and then charged with bank fraud. Prosecutors alleged he used more than $1.5 million on unauthorized purchases including the car, jewelry and child support.
“The defendant allegedly took advantage of the emergency lending provisions of the Paycheck Protection Program that were intended to assist employees and small businesses battered by the Coronavirus,” said U.S. Attorney Byung J. “BJay” Pak. “We will investigate and charge anyone who inappropriately diverts these critical funds for their own personal gain.”
Fayne appeared in federal court on the day of his arrest in front of magistrate judge Justin S. Anand of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.
Fayne’s lawyer, Atlanta attorney Tanya Miller, says he will fight the charges. She issued a statement to The Post saying that she would not try the case through the media and that the government needed to clear up confusion about the stimulus program’s rules.
“We will provide the appropriate response in the proper forum once all the information has been provided to us,” said Miller in the statement. “There has been considerable confusion among small business owners about PPP guidelines particularly around the question of whether and how business owners are permitted to pay themselves a salary or owner’s draw. This ambiguity and confusion for business owners needs to be addressed immediately as the PPP program is still in its infancy.”
Although some PPP applicants have had difficulty navigating the program’s rules and some larger employers have decided to return funds, Fayne is charged with using the money for much different purposes than he allegedly stated on his application.
The FBI assisted with the investigation, along with the SBA’s Office of Inspector General. Agents searched Fayne’s home in Dacula, outside Atlanta, on May 11 and seized “approximately $80,000 in cash, including $9,400 that Fayne had in his pockets.” They also used seizure warrants to take control of approximately $503,000 of remaining PPP funds from three of Fayne’s bank accounts, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office.
The ninth season of “Love & Hip Hop” premiered in March. Spokespersons at VH1, which produces the show, did not return a request for comment.