Ex-New York Jets WR Josh Bellamy charged in $24 million coronavirus relief loan scheme

Former New York Jets wide receiver Josh Bellamy was arrested for his alleged role in a $24 million scheme to receive illegal loans intended for coronavirus relief, the U.S. Justice Department announced Thursday.

Bellamy, 31, was charged in a federal criminal complaint with fraud, bank fraud, and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud. He allegedly received more than $1.2 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans for his company Drip Entertainment LLC, according to the Justice Department.

Bellamy, recovering from a shoulder injury, was released Tuesday from the Jets' physically unable to perform list. The organization wasn't aware of the arrest at the time of the release, a source said.

He was arrested Thursday morning in Florida and was scheduled to appear later in the day before U.S. Magistrate Judge Christopher Tuite of the Middle District of Florida.

According to the Justice Department, Bellamy spent more than $62,000 in loan money at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Florida. He also is accused of using more than $104,000 for luxury goods, including purchases at Dior, Gucci and various jewelers, in addition to withdrawing more than $302,000.

Ten other defendants were allegedly involved in the scheme.

The PPP allows qualifying small businesses suffering financial hardship from the COVID-19 pandemic to receive low-interest loans.

Bellamy, who broke into the NFL in 2012 as an undrafted free agent for the Kansas City Chiefs, signed a two-year, $5 million contract last year with the Jets. He played almost exclusively on special teams, as he made only two receptions as a receiver.

He suffered a season-ending shoulder injury and began training camp on the PUP list.