Ex-NFL receiver and St. Petersburg native sentenced for COVID-19 relief fraud scheme

Pinellas County

This is a 2016 photo of Joshua Bellamy of the Chicago Bears NFL football team. This image reflects the Chicago Bears active roster as of Monday, June 13, 2016 when this image was taken. (AP Photo)

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – Former NFL wide receiver Joshua Bellamy has been sentenced to 37 months in prison for fraudulently receiving coronavirus-relief loans, the U.S. Justice Department said on Friday.

Bellamy, 31, allegedly obtained a PPP loan of $1.2 million for his company, “Drip Entertainment” and used the money to purchase over $104,000 in luxury goods, the department said.

According to the report, Bellamy spent over $60,000 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino with the loans.

Bellamy also sought PPP loans on behalf of his family members and close associates. Bellamy further admitted that he paid more than $311,000 to an alleged co-conspirator, James Stote, as a kickback for his assistance in preparing and submitting the fraudulent loan application.

In addition to his prison sentence, Bellamy was ordered to serve three years of supervised release and pay 2,493,130 in restitution and forfeiture.

Bellamy is a St. Petersburg native who played at Boca Ciega High School. He was most recently cut by the New York Jets in 2020.

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