Paved with Good Intentions

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Early Sunday morning, I was driving down Santa Cruz Avenue, which is the main retail drag of Menlo Park, and it was so sad. Only a few months ago, this was one of the most affluent and ritzy retail strips in the Bay Area, and yet a dozen different places were utterly empty and abandoned with a For Lease sign on the front. It was like a ghost town, even though it is surrounded by thousands of millionaires.

All of us known small business owners who have been struck down by the shutdown, such as barbers, gym owners, party centers, restaurants, and so forth. In an effort to help, the government has thrown trillions of dollars at the problem, including a multi-hundred-billion dollar SBA “Paycheck Protection Program” designed to help employees keep their jobs while their employers are struggling.

I knew the moment it was announced that there was going to be fraud, because there’s no way you can loudly announce that you’re going to be distributing two-thirds of a trillion dollars to businesses which will be forgiven and not expect to be partly ripped off. Because even if only 10% of the recipients aren’t being honest, and 90% of them are being completely honest, that still means over $60 billion is being ripped off from future taxpayers. And I doubt it’s as small as 10%.

Thus, this headline ticked me off just a touch:


And here’s the “star” in question:

……who quickly retained an apparently well-known criminal defense lawyer in Atlanta, Tanya Miller. Here, incredibly, is what Ms. Miller had to say about this (click quote for better readability):


So………he got $2 million from the government, claiming he would pay employees, and yet he reportedly spent it on himself, due to……….CONFUSION?

There’s a little thing in the legal world known simply as “the smell test”, and if I may say so, this doesn’t exactly pass it. Instead of retaining honest, hard-working people with gainful employment, the Feds say that the aforementioned rap star spent it on, among other things:

  • $85,000 in jewelry
  • $40,000 in child support payments (!)
  • Over $300,000 on a Rolls Royce, which is this model:

I’m glad they at least nabbed this guy, but given the circumstances, I’m inclined to agree with the top-upvoted comment on the article about this crime, which as follows:


This seems like an open-and-shut case. I imagine there will be hundreds, if not thousands, more to come.