Musings On A Recent Entry In The Ethics Alarms “I Don’t Understand This Story At ALL” Files

Fontrell Baines, 31, a rapper who goes by the stage name of “Nuke Bizzle,” was arrested on three felony counts of access device fraud, aggravated identity theft and interstate transportation of stolen property, thus facing up to 22 years in federal prison. It’s not just that the evidence shows that Baines and his co-conspirators fraudulently obtained at least 92 debit cards pre-loaded with more than $1.2 million on them and converted the cards into more than $700,000 of ill-gotten gains. The rapper was caught after he posted a music video about the scheme on YouTube, leading to his arrest last month while he had multiple debit cards in his possession with the names of people who weren’t him..  The catchy rap song,  in which he boasts about getting “rich off of EDD, amassed more than 400,000 views and also alerted authorities to his scheme.

“Unemployment so sweet,” Baines raps. “We had 1.5 land this week!” A cohort on the video joins in, “You gotta sell cocaine, I can just file a claim!”

Prosecutors say the stolen cards were sent to addresses in Beverly Hills and the Koreatown neighborhood of Los Angeles, where “Nuke” could get grab them. For inspiration….

Musings:

  • How incompetent does a state government have to be that devises a system where citizens’ hard-earned tax money is distributed in a manner this easy to misappropriate?
  • What kind of internal connections are missing that would lead someone to steal the funds sent to presumably desperate people and then brag about it on a video?
  • Is this a pathology we can blame on social media? On 21st Century ethics rot?
  • I don’t recall earlier generations having criminals who went on stage performing songs that revealed their crimes. Did Bruno Hauptmann pen a ditty that went, “I snatched the Lindbergh’s baby, and I don’t mean maybe”? If he had, wouldn’t he have been regarded as a lunatic? I know Eric Clapton sang “I shot the sheriff,” but he didn’t really shoot a sheriff. (Or did he?)
  • Because this idiot’s name is Fontrelle and he goes by the Snoop Dog-inspired “Nuke Bizzle” nom de plume, I presume he is an African-American. Does that mean I am indulging in racial stereotypes?
  • Am I correct in concluding that someone who would do this has no ethics alarms at all? He doesn’t see anything wrong with it, he isn’t ashamed, and he not only doesn’t attempt to hide it, he publicizes it. How does someone get this way?
  • Or, in the alternative, is he just astoundingly stupid? In either case, how can someone like this ever be trusted to live in society? You can’t fix this degree of stupid, and there is no evidence that you can install ethics alarms where none ever existed.
  • Is locking Fontrelle up contributing to “mass incarceration”?

35 thoughts on “Musings On A Recent Entry In The Ethics Alarms “I Don’t Understand This Story At ALL” Files

  1. “I Shot the Sherriff” was covered by, but not written by, Eric Clapton. It was written by Bob Marley. There’s no evidence to suggest that Marley shot the sheriff, either (and Marley’s version is MUCH better than Clapton’s, by the way).

    As to the larger question: I would speculate that Mr. Bizzle’s rationalization is the same as that used by “peaceful protesters” who strike blows for justice and equality by looting Louis Vuitton handbags: they money comes from the man and can easily be repressed and besides, they’ve been oppressed for centuries.

    And yeah, he’s obviously dumber than a box of rocks.

  2. There’s been a lot of fraud in the unemployment cards. I got one, so did my spouse, we’re self employed and didn’t file a claim (deemed essential during Covid). It’s even got a link on the state website to report it. To make it more fun, the issuer of the cards, US Bank told me to be more careful on the Internet. Umm sure. Let me ask you this. When, on the Internet, have you ever put your name, address, Birthday and social security numbers of you and your spouse? Ever? Me neither. My suspicion is the Anthem hack a few years back. They do have all that information.

    • They can never admit that mailing preloaded debit cards could be stolen, however. How could you then claim an unsolicited mail-in ballots sent to every registered address could never be swiped from a mailbox and illicitly filled in and submitted?

  3. The Daily Mail ran an article a while ago about over seven hundred “stimulus” checks having been inadvertently sent to people in Austria. I forwarded the article to a childhood friend who’s lived in Austria with her Austrian physician husband for at least forty-five years. I assume she’s maintained her U.S. citizenship and probably filed U.S. tax returns but I’m sure she’s paid more in Austrian taxes than she would have had to pay in U.S. taxes, so I assume she’s paid no U.S. taxes. Kiddingly, I said in the email, “So, did you get your check?” To which she responded, “Yep. Deposited it in my U.S. bank account with the app. Will spend it when I’m back home.” She’s now officially an ex-friend.

      • Or US citizens accepting and depositing an advance tax refund available to even persons with no taxable income? This seems like ick over ethics.

        • As I recall, the checks were only supposed to be sent to people in the U.S, Rich. They were sent overseas in error. The American taxpayers are supposed to stimulate the Austrian economy? Besides which, she’s very wealthy. She spends most of her time in Italian spas. I’m sure her income level is well above the amount that disqualifies one from receiving a stimulus check.

          • Nope, U.S. citizens living abroad are eligible to receive the stimulus payments. If you file a 1040 and your income is under the limit and you are not a dependent of someone else — you’re eligible to get the payment.

            You may be thinking of non-resident aliens who are not eligible for the stimulus payments.

            U.S. citizens living abroad are still liable for U.S. income taxes if they earn income abroad. I’d assume that her husband pays Austrian taxes on his income and doesn’t have to report that income to the U.S., so her American taxed income may not be that high.

    • Aren’t American citizens living abroad still subject to US taxes? I think the only way to get out from under the IRS is to die or renounce your citizenship.

      • Yes, of course. However, if you pay more in taxes in your resident country than you would pay in U.S. taxes (which is the case in almost all European countries), you owe no U.S. taxes and your return, although required, is largely informational.

      • Why should anyone living long term overseas be required to pay taxes or even fill in tax forms from their home country? They are not costing their home country anything. It sounds a lot like theft by government to me.

        • Take that up with your local congress person, Errol. I think you can be an expat and still get social security. You can travel on a U.S. passport. You can always come back to the U.S. and have all the rights associated therewith.

        • Depends on the tax laws in their home country. Here in the U.S. the tax laws say that U.S. citizens are taxed on their worldwide income. Yes, there can be tax credits for income taxes paid to a foreign country, so that you might not end up paying any actual U.S. taxes but your income is taxable by the IRS.

  4. Driving through a neighboring state a couple of days ago, we heard radio news reports of their officials investigating recent massive unemployment fraud. According to their reports, the worst of it seems to be attributed to organized gangs, particularly those with certain foreign ties.

    I wonder if anyone is keeping an eye on Ilhan Omar’s district?

    I have never even shot at a sheriff or a deputy.

  5. I just want to know when the riots, looting, burning of cars and businesses, and pictures of this guy in his 8th-grade graduation cap & gown are going to appear.

    • “He’s just a baby!”

      Benjamin Crump is in the air right now in his private jet and has Kamala Harris’s people on the line setting up a phone call with the family.

  6. Jack,

    “Because this idiot’s name is Fontrelle and he goes by the Snoop Dog-inspired “Nuke Bizzle” nom de plume, I presume he is an African-American. Does that mean I am indulging in racial stereotypes?”

    1) Until your comment and a subsequent Google search, I’d assumed Mr. Bizzle was white (that name has a lot of Potemkin swagger to it)
    2) Why bring up race at all when it had little to do with the story itself? You’ve previously bemoaned groups like BLM inserting themselves into all sorts of unrelated conversations, and yet you did so here for the sake of .. a punch-line? Satire? To set up the mass-incarceration jab at the end? All the above?

    This isn’t a gotcha, a hill, or anything resembling an argument. Your comments feel passively-aggressive and it confuses me. Do you have something specific on your mind?

  7. Turley as a post about this today (from a legal defense POV). Helpfully, it includes the press release announcing the charges: https://www.justice.gov/usao-cdca/pr/rapper-who-bragged-about-unemployment-benefits-scam-music-video-arrested-allegedly

    The more I think about this case the more clear it becomes that Mr. Bizzle is essentially a conscious-free opportunist.

    As are, apparently, the “peaceful protesters” who demonstrate their anger over the loss of George Floyd by sporting “liberated” Louis Vuitton handbags.

    As is the son of a certain candidate for President – who, by the way, had a much better (and much safer) grift going.

    Must be white privilege.

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