Pretty Ricky’s Baby Blue Arrested for $24 Million COVID Loan Scam
Rapper Baby Blue Whoaaaa, formerly known as Baby Blue from the R&B group Pretty Ricky, is in some hot water after being accused of participating in a scam to file fake loan applications to obtain millions of dollars allocated for small businesses due to the coronavirus pandemic.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice on Tuesday (Oct. 6), Baby Blue, born Diamond Blue Smith, 36, and another man named Tonye C. Johnson, 28, were charged in federal criminal complaints filed in the Southern District of Florida on numerous fraud charges. The men were hit with wire fraud, bank fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud after seeking more than $24 million in Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans promised by the Small Business Administration (SBA) as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
Baby Blue Whoaaaa, who gained fame with Pretty Ricky in the mid-2000s for songs like "Grind With Me," was arrested on Monday (Oct. 5) and appeared before a judge in the Northern District of Georgia. The DOJ also says that the Florida rapper used false documents to receive a PPP loan for his company, Throwbackjersey.com LLC, in the amount of $426,717. He obtained another loan for his Blue Star Records, LLC company using falsified documents, in which he was given $708,065.
The former Love & Hip Hop: Miami cast member allegedly withdrew $271,805 in loan funds as well. In addition to the aforementioned loans, Baby Blue allegedly bought a $96,000 Ferrari, which was seized at the time of his arrest, as well as other luxury items from the loans he received.
Tonye C. Johnson, who was arrested on Oct. 1, and appeared on Oct. 2 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Henry S. Perkin of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, is alleged to have obtained a PPP loan of $389,627 for his own company, Synergy Towing & Transport LLC, using falsified documents. He allegedly paid a portion of the loan proceeds to co-conspirators in the scheme.
The scheme allegedly involved the preparation of at least 90 fraudulent applications, most of which were submitted.
The government also states that Baby Blue enlisted cohorts to file for loans allowing him to receive kickbacks or illegal payments used as compensation for a transaction or service. Eleven other people are involved in the case.
Baby Blue and Tonye C. Johnson's cases were investigated by the IRS Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI) in Miami and Cincinnati, FBI in Miami and Cleveland and the Small Business Association Office of Inspector General (SBA-OIG).
In a post shared by The Shade Room on the arrest, Baby Blue Whoaaaa wrote in the comment section, "#FREEBABYBLUEWHOAAAA."
Either Baby Blue Whoaaaa or a person running his personal Instagram account proclaimed the rapper's innocence and promoted a new song today. "Click link in bio! 👆💰💵 #BUSSDOWN If you fucks with Whoaaaa Repost! #FreeBabyBlueWhoaaaa 'He Innocent,'" the IG post reads.
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