In a decision issued on September 15, 2021, a U.S. District Judge of the Northern District of Georgia sentenced Maurice Fayne (“Fayne”), a reality television personality who starred in “Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta,” to over 17 years in federal prison for his role in a major Ponzi scheme.
Fayne pleaded guilty on May 11, 2021, to charges of bank fraud, wire fraud, and conspiracy. Additionally, he was ordered by the court to pay restitution in the amount of $4,465,865.55 to the victims that he defrauded.
According to the Acting U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, between March 2013 and May 2020, Fayne operated a Ponzi scheme that defrauded more than 20 people who invested in his trucking business, Flame Trucking LLC. Between March 2019 and July 2019, Fayne was featured on season 8 of “Love & Hip Hop.” The U.S. Attorney stated that, instead of using the investors’ funds for his business, he used the money to pay off his personal debts and to fund an extravagant lifestyle. On one occasion during the scheme, he reportedly spent over $5 million dollars at an Oklahoma casino.
In April 2020, Fayne submitted a $3.7 million loan application to the United Community Bank, falsely asserting that Flame Trucking employed 107 people and had an average monthly payroll of $1.4 million. This application came about two weeks after the passage of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security, or CARES, Act, which authorized billions of dollars in forgivable loans to small businesses for job retention and related expenses.
Instead of using the 3.7 million dollar loan to hire workers and cover business expenses, Fayne used the money to cover personal expenses, which included $40,000 for over-due child support, $50,000 for restitution that he owed for a previous fraud case, $65,000 in cash withdrawals, $85,000 for custom-made jewelry, $136,000 to lease a Rolls Royce and $907,000 to start a new business in Arkansas.
In May 2020, Federal agents confronted Fayne but Fayne denied any misuse of the loan funds and claimed that he had used the funds to pay Flame Trucking’s business expenses and payroll, according to the prosecutors.
The government is represented by Bernita Malloy of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia.
Maurice Fayne is represented by Saraliene Durrett.
The case is USA v. Fayne, case number 1:20-cr-00228, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.
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