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‘Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta’ star sentenced to 17 years in prison on fraud charges

By Catherine Catoura

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    ATLANTA (WGCL) — A local reality TV star has been sentenced to prison for his connection to a multi-million dollar Ponzi scheme.

Maurice Fayne, 38, of Dacula, who starred in Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta, received 17 years in prison for conspiracy, wire fraud, bank fraud, and making false payments along with a slew of other charges.

According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, from March 2013 through May 2020, Fayne ran a multistate Ponzi scheme that defrauded more than 20 people who invested in his trucking business. Fayne promised that he would use the investors’ money to operate the business. Instead, he used the money to pay his personal debts and expenses and to fund an extravagant lifestyle for himself.

Investigators say Fayne used PPP loan proceeds for improper purposes, including the following:

• $40,000 for past-due child support;

• $50,000 for restitution owed in a previous fraud case;

• $65,000 in cash withdrawals;

• $85,000 for custom-made jewelry;

• $136,000 to lease a Rolls-Royce;

• $230,000 to associates who helped him run a Ponzi scheme;

• $907,000 to start a new business in Arkansas.

“Fayne planned to use the PPP program as a cover for his long-running Ponzi scheme,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Kurt R. Erskine. “The funds the program supplies serve as a lifeline to many businesses desperately trying to stay afloat during the pandemic, and unfortunately his fraud helped deplete those precious dollars.”

This case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Small Business Administration-Office of Inspector General.

“This sentence should serve notice that the FBI and our federal partners will investigate anyone who misdirects federal emergency assistance earmarked for businesses who need it to stay afloat,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “We won’t tolerate anyone driven by personal greed to pocket American taxpayer money that should be going to those who need it,” he added.

“Lying to gain access to SBA’s pandemic response programs is not without consequence,” said SBA OIG’s Eastern Region Special Agent in Charge Amaleka McCall-Brathwaite. “OIG will relentlessly pursue evidence of fraud against SBA’s programs aimed at assisting the nation’s small businesses struggling with the pandemic challenges. I want to thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office for its leadership and dedication to pursuing justice.”

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