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Ex-Bears WR Josh Bellamy sentenced to 3 years in prison

Bellamy, who played for the Bears from 2014 to 2018, admitted being part of a scheme to defraud the government of pandemic relief funds — illegally obtaining a $1.2 million PPP loan for personal use.

Chicago Bears wide receiver Josh Bellamy (15) reacts to a play during the second half of an NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh) ORG XMIT: CXB1
Former Bears wide receiver Josh Bellamy reacts to a play during a game against the Green Bay Packers Sunday, Dec. 16, 2018, in Chicago.
AP Photos

Former Bears wide receiver Josh Bellamy was sentenced Friday to three years and one month in prison for his part in a fraud scheme in which he illegally acquired $1.2 million in pandemic relief funds for personal use.

Bellamy, 32, of St. Petersburg, Fla., pleaded guilty on June 9 in the Southern District of Florida to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. According to court documents, Bellamy used falsified documents to receive a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan of $1,246,565 for his company, Drip Entertainment LLC.

Bellamy, who played for the Bears from 2014-18, admitted to using the money on personal items, including jewelry and more than $62,000 on a stay at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. He also admitted, according to court documents, paying $311,000 to an alleged co-conspirator as a kickback for his assistance in the scheme.

Bellamy was sentenced to 37 months in prison. He also must serve three years of supervised release and pay the full amount of the loan in restitution and forfeiture.

Bellamy, an undrafted free agent out of Louisville in 2012, played eight seasons in the NFL with the Chiefs (2012), Redskins (2013), Bears (2014-18) and Jets (2019). He played 67 of his 82 games and made all 14 of his NFL starts with the Bears, under coaches Marc Trestman, John Fox and Matt Nagy.

His best season was 2017, when he started seven games in Fox’s final season and had 24 receptions for 376 yards (15.7 avg.) and one touchdown. He also had a 34-yard catch against the Eagles in the wild-card game in the 2018-19 postseason.