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St. Petersburg ex-NFL player Josh Bellamy gets 3 years for COVID-19 relief loan fraud

After Josh Bellamy got the PPP loan, authorities say he used the money for personal items, including jewelry and a stay at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.
In this Oct. 6, 2019, file photo, New York Jets wide receiver Josh Bellamy is seen before an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles in Philadelphia.
In this Oct. 6, 2019, file photo, New York Jets wide receiver Josh Bellamy is seen before an NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles in Philadelphia. [ MATT ROURKE | AP ]
Published Dec. 11, 2021|Updated Dec. 12, 2021

Former National Football League wide receiver Joshua J. Bellamy, 32, of St. Petersburg, has been sentenced to 37 months in federal prison for his part in a COVID-19 relief fraud scheme.

Bellamy fraudulently secured a loan of more than $1.2 million for his company, Drip Entertainment LLC, through the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program, according to the Department of Justice. The program, which was part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, ended May 31.

Bellamy admitted to authorities that he paid an alleged co-conspirator, James Stote, more than $311,000 to prepare and submit a fraudulent loan application, the DOJ said in a news release Friday.

After he got the loan, authorities say, he used the money for personal items, including jewelry and a stay at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.

Bellamy also helped family members and friends seek fraudulent PPP loans, according to the release.

Bellamy pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud in the Southern District of Florida on June 9, the Justice Department said.

He was sentenced Friday to 37 months in federal prison and three years of supervised release, according to the DOJ. Bellamy also must “pay $1,246,565 in restitution and $1,246,565 in forfeiture.”

Originally signed by the Kansas City Chiefs in 2012, Bellamy most recently played for the New York Jets. He attended Boca Ciega High School in St. Petersburg.

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