September 27, 2022

TAMPA, Fla. — Former NFL player Josh Bellamy has been sentenced to three years and one month in federal prison for fraudulently obtaining over $1.2 million in COVID-19 relief funds.

Bellamy, 32, of St. Petersburg, Florida, was sentenced Friday in Tampa federal court, according to court records. He pleaded guilty in June to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Besides serving prison time, Bellamy must also pay restitution.

Bellamy most recently played for the New York Jets, who released him from the reserve/physically unable to play list in September 2020, just days before his arrest. The wide receiver had been placed on the list in May of that year, ending his season before it began. He signed a two-year deal worth $5 million with New York in 2019 and played in seven games before injuring a shoulder and being placed on the season-ending injured reserve list.

According to court records, Bellamy obtained a Paycheck Protection Program loan of $1.2 million for his company, Drip Entertainment LLC, using falsified documents and false information. Bellamy admitted to using the loan proceeds on personal items, such as jewelry and a stay at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. Bellamy also sought loans on behalf of his family members and close associates.

Bellamy also told investigators that he paid more than $311,000 to an alleged co-conspirator, James Stote, as a kickback for his assistance in preparing and submitting the fraudulent loan application, prosecutors said.

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