LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – A rapper who boasted in a YouTube music video
about getting rich w from committing unemployment benefits fraud pleaded not
guilty Thursday in Los Angeles to federal charges of carrying out the scheme by
fraudulently applying for more than $1.2 million in jobless benefits.
The 31-year-old Nuke Bizzle, whose real name is Fontrell Antonio Baines, was ordered to stand trial on Dec. 29 in downtown Los Angeles.
He was arrested in September on allegations that he fraudulently obtained jobless benefits under the CARES Act.
Baines, who resided in the Hollywood Hills, is accused of applying for $1.2 million in unemployment benefits. He is charged with access device fraud, aggravated identity theft and interstate transportation of stolen property.
When he was arrested Sept. 23 by Las Vegas police, officers found eight Employment Development Department (EDD) debit cards in his possession, seven of which were in the names of other people, prosecutors alleged in charging documents.
According to the criminal complaint, investigators turned up at least 92 EDD debit cards preloaded with more than $1.2 million in fraudulent obtained benefits mailed to addresses that Baines had access to in Beverly Hills and Koreatown. Federal investigators say Baines and his co-schemers allegedly withdrew or spent more than $704,000 in cash from these cards.
In a music video which he uploaded to YouTube in September, Baines rapped about getting rich off EDD fraud. In the video, which was posted on Sept. 11, Baines rapped about doing “my swagger for EDD” and getting rich by “go(ing) to the bank with a stack of these” while holding up a several envelopes from EDD.
A second man in the video raps, “you gotta sell cocaine, I just file a claim…”
Baines also bragged about defrauding EDD in posts to his Instagram accounts, under the handles “nukebizzle1” and “nukebizzle23,” federal authorities said.
If convicted as charged, he faces a maximum of 22 years in federal prison.
(© Copyright 2020 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. City News Service contributed to this report.)