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Rapper arrested after releasing track about filing false benefit claims

By | Published on Monday 19 October 2020

Nuke Bizzle

A US rapper who bragged on a track about getting rich by defrauding a government unemployment benefits scheme has been arrested for, er, defrauding a government unemployment benefits scheme. He is accused of stealing more than $1.2 million in benefits by using stolen identities.

Nuke Bizzle – real name Fontrell Antonio Baines – released the track ‘EDD’ (which is the acronym for California’s Employment Development Department) last month. A collaboration with fellow rapper Fat Wizza, the video shows the two performers waving around envelopes (seemingly containing fraudulently obtained cheques) and wads of cash. On the track, they brag that while other rappers “gotta sell cocaine”, they make money simply by filing false benefit claims online.

Baines was actually arrested late last month, it was announced last week. He has been charged with specifically defrauding the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance scheme, which was set up to support people who have lost jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic who would not usually be eligible for such benefits – including self-employed workers. His first court appearance took place on Friday.

As well as bragging about the illegal get rich quick scheme in a music video, prosecutors claim that Baines also boasted about it on two Instagram accounts. When arrested, he is said to have been in possession of seven debit cards in other people’s names – including victims of identity theft.

A disclaimer in the description of the ‘EDD’ video says that it was “created with props and was made for entertainment purposes” – although it’s not clear when this was added. In an Instagram post over the weekend, Fat Wizza denied that what he and Nuke Bizzle rap about on the track reflects reality, claiming that he doesn’t even have a bank account.