‘Everybody was doing it’ says rapper charged with pilfering Covid relief funds

by WorldTribune Staff, November 21, 2022

Nuke Bizzle figured that, since “everybody was doing it,” he would get a piece of the action.

The action the rapper is charged with getting in on was stealing Covid relief funds from the U.S. government, prosecutors in his case say.

Rapper Fontrell Baines, who is known as Nuke Bizzle / Instagram

Phony unemployment applications handled by Bizzle, the rap name of Fontrell Baines, totaled nearly $1.3 million in potential benefits, prosecutors say. More than $700,000 was paid out to his address before he was caught.

The rapper recorded himself sending numerous fake unemployment applications and then posted the footage on YouTube as a rap video titled “EDD,” after California’s jobs agency.

“Unemployment so sweet,” he sang, while his rap partner, Fat Wizza, added: “You gotta sell cocaine, I can just file a claim.”

A day after Fox News host Tucker Carlson devoted part of his Sept. 22 show to Nuke Bizzle’s video, Baines was stopped by police in Las Vegas and was found with unemployment benefit payment cards in others’ names. Less than a month later, he was arrested on fraud charges and found in possession of a Glock .357 pistol. The gun netted him another charge because, as a repeat felon, he was not supposed to possess a firearm.

“It was hard to resist the money that I could get from the cards especially when everybody around was doing it,” Baines said when pleading his case to prosecutors.

The U.S. government paid out roughly $800 billion in pandemic unemployment benefits, and fraudsters likely siphoned off more than $200 billion of that, analysts told The Washington Times.

Prosecutors asked U.S. District Judge Michael W. Fitzgerald to impose a 96-month sentence, which would cover not only the pandemic fraud but also gun and drug charges. They also want the judge to order Baines to repay $704,760.

“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 told the judge in his case.

Nuke Bizzle’s video had more than 400,000 views on YouTube at the time he was arrested.

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