A Florida rapper allegedly pocketed more than $1 million in COVID-19 relief funds, which he used to buy a Ferrari and other luxe items, federal prosecutors said.

Diamond Blue Smith — who is a member of the group Pretty Ricky — was charged this week for his role in a $17 million coronavirus relief scheme, according to the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida.

Prosecutors allege that Smith — who also appears on the show “Love & Hip Hop: Miami” — obtained $427,000 through his company, Throwbackjersey.com, by falsifying documents for a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan.

The PPP program was meant to help struggling small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic.


The recording artist also was able to secure another PPP loan of $708,00 through another company, Blue Star Records, prosecutors said.

He then allegedly used the loan proceeds to buy a $96,000 Ferrari as well as $2,290 in goods from Versace.

On another occasion, he spent more than $27,176 at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, prosecutors said.

The FBI also accused Smith in a complaint of fraudulently seeking PPP loans on the behalf of others in order to get kickbacks.


At least a dozen other people are charged in the scheme, which secured at least $17.4 million in relief funds, prosecutors said.

Smith’s Ferrari — it was not immediately clear which model — was seized when he was arrested Monday on charges of wire fraud, bank fraud, and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and

In one of the country’s largest coronvirus relief schemes, South Florida rapper and reality star Diamond Blue Smith has been charged and accused of pocketing more than $1 million from a federal loan program for struggling businesses and buying a $96,000 Ferrari with the proceeds.

Smith, 36, a cast member on “Love & Hip Hop: Miami” and a member of the group Pretty Ricky, was arrested this week along with a Pennsylvania tow truck operator for their roles in a $24 million COVID-19 relief fraud scheme.

Smith and Johnson both face federal charges of wire fraud, bank fraud, and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud in the Southern District of Florida. Smith could not be immediately reached for comment.

Eleven other defendants have also been charged in the alleged racket centered in South Florida to bilk the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program approved by Congress as part of the CARES Act. It is meant to help businesses struggling from the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Federal prosecutors in Miami allege that Smith, also known as “Baby Blue,” obtained $427,000 in a PPP loan through his company, Throwbackjersey.com, by falsifying documents for the SBA loan. A bank approved the loan, which is guaranteed by the SBA. He also allegedly obtain another loan of $708,00 through another company, Blue Star Records LLC.

The FBI’s investigation revealed Smith was allegedly part of a broader scheme involving others who helped filed for the coronavirus relief funds while taking kickbacks.

Jay Weaver writes about bad guys who specialize in con jobs, rip-offs and squirreling away millions. Since joining the Miami Herald in 1999, he’s covered the federal courts nonstop, from Elian’s custody battle to A-Rod’s steroid abuse. He was on the Herald team that won the Pulitzer Prize for breaking

Oct. 7 (UPI) — Federal prosecutors have charged a South Florida rapper of conspiring with others to steal tens of millions of dollars in federal relief funds meant to aid small businesses amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Justice Department in a release said Diamond Blue Smith, 36, a member of the music group Pretty Ricky, and Tonye C. Johnson, 28, of Flourtown, Pa., have been charged in federal criminal complaints unsealed Tuesday for wire fraud, bank fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud.

The complaints said the pair were charged in a scheme involving 11 other defendants, including former NFL wide receiver Joshua Bellamy, to steal $24 million in loans from the Paycheck Protection Program.

The Paycheck Protection Program was included in the $2 trillion CARES Act that President Donald Trump signed in March to help small businesses struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic to keep employees on their payrolls.

Prosecutors said Tuesday that Smith obtained more than $1 million from the program through filing falsified documents on behalf of his two companies, Throwbackjersey.com and Blue Star Records.

Smith is accused of using the ill-gotten funds to buy luxury goods as well as a $96,000 Ferrari, which authorities confiscated Monday when Smith was arrested, the Justice Department said.

The complaint further accuses the rapper of seeking loans on behalf of others in order to receive kickbacks.

Johnson, the owner of Synergy Towing & Transport, is accused of using falsified documents to obtain nearly $400,000 in loans of which he paid a portion of to co-conspirators in the scheme.

According to the Justice Department, the scheme was hatched by Phillip J. Augustin, 51, who was charged in a criminal complaint in July.

The court document states that after Augustin obtained a fraudulent PPP loan for his company Clear Vision