SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — A Savannah rapper is facing up to 3 decades in prison after admitting he fraudulently obtained funds meant for COVID-19 small business assistance and possessed marijuana.
According to David H. Estes, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia, Brandon Lamar Williams, 30, who performs under the name, “NH Skilo,” is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to Wire Fraud and two counts of Possession of Marijuana.
“With our law enforcement partners, we continue to identify and hold accountable the fraudsters who illegally tapped into the more than $650 billion Congress appropriated for small business relief during the pandemic,” said U.S. Attorney Estes. “Brandon Lamar Williams is learning that there is a price to pay for stealing from taxpayers.”
Williams’ guilty plea means he faces a statutory penalty of up to 26 years in prison. Because Williams has prior felony drug convictions, he also faces a minimum of 90 days in prison and severe financial penalties and restitution. On top of that, he also may serve up to 3 years of supervised release upon completing any prison term.
Authorities say that the wire fraud took place in mid-2021. Williams provided false information in a loan application to the Small Business Administration for economic assistance under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act’s Paycheck Protection Program obtaining more than $40,000 from a lender participating in the program.
In addition, Williams also admitted to two counts of possession of marijuana that was related to a traffic stop in August 2021 where he was stopped by Savannah Police, and also to possessing marijuana when he was arrested in January of this year.
“Law enforcement is at its best when we all come together to enhance public safety,” said Beau Kolodka, Assistant Special Agent in Charge of the Atlanta Field Office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. “ATF is always looking for creative ways to work with our law enforcement partners to make our jurisdictions safer together.”
“Fraudsters seeking to use falsified information to defraud SBA programs will be brought to justice,” said SBA OIG’s Eastern Region Special Agent in Charge Amaleka McCall-Brathwaite. “OIG is focused on rooting out bad actors in these vital SBA programs. I want to thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office and our law enforcement partners for their dedication and commitment to seeing justice served.”
Acting SBA General Counsel Therese Meers stated: “I commend the efforts of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia in bringing this case and the results achieved. It is emblematic of the ongoing efforts of federal law enforcement to exert every effort to uncover, and forcefully respond to, fraud committed by individuals seeking to abuse SBA’s assistance programs. Identifying, and aggressively pursuing, fraudulent activity which harms not only the agency’s financial assistance programs, but those in our communities that are the intended beneficiaries of such program is one of SBA’s top priorities.”
If anyone has any information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19, it report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at: https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.