Josh Bellamy, ex-Bears and Jets WR, arrested for alleged involvement in COVID-19 relief fraud

Jan 6, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears wide receiver Josh Bellamy (15) celebrates a touchdown by wide receiver Allen Robinson (not pictured) against the Philadelphia Eagles in the second half of a NFC Wild Card playoff football game at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

NFL receiver Josh Bellamy, who was cut by the New York Jets on Tuesday, was arrested and is facing multiple fraud charges for his alleged involvement in a multi-million-dollar COVID-19 relief scheme.

Bellamy, who re-signed with the Jets this offseason, was cut by the team after spending the summer on the physically-unable-to-perform list. Now, the 31-year-old receiver’s NFL career is likely over as he faces alarming charges.

Josh Bellamy arrested, charged for fraud in COVID-19 relief scheme

Bellamy was arrested on Thursday morning for his alleged involvement in a scheme to file fraudulent loan applications through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which was created as part of the CARES Act.

The Department of Justice announced Thursday that Bellamy and several others sought more than $24 million in loans from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, which was created to help provide financial relief to Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the DOJ’s press release, Bellamy obtained $1.246 million in a PPP loan for his company, Drip Entertainment LLC. He is accused of using more than $104,000 to purchase luxury items from the proceeds, along with an additional $62,774 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.

The 31-year-old also withdrew in excess of $302,000 and sought additional PPP loans for friends and family.

Bellamy and the other 10 defendants face accusations of creating at least 90 fraudulent applications under the CARES Act. Of the more than $24 million dollars requested in PPP loans, the defendants were paid out at least $17.4 million.

Bellamy is being charged with wire fraud, bank fraud and conspiracy to commit both. He is set to appear on Thursday in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge Christopher Tuite of the Middle District of Florida.

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Josh Bellamy’s stats and NFL career

An undrafted free agent n 2012, Bellamy began his career with the Kansas City Chiefs. He would spend the next two seasons on the Chiefs’, San Diego Chargers’ and Washington Football Team’s practice squad before joining the Chicago Bears in 2014.

Bellamy played in four games during the 2014 season in Chicago, drawing one target with zero catches. The following season, he recorded 19 receptions for 224 receiving yards and two touchdowns.

The 6-foot receiver would spend the next three seasons with the Bears, seeing snaps on offense and special teams. Across five seasons in Chicago, Bellamy hauled in 76 receptions for 999 yards and five touchdowns across 67 games.

Bellamy joined the Jets in 2019, appearing in seven games. He played 63 snaps on offense with 124 snaps on special teams, then re-signed with New York this offseason.

This will likely spell the end of his NFL career. While teams now have expanded practice squads and are allowed to sign veterans, Bellamy now faces a grueling court battle.