Clackamas County man accused in $14M COVID relief fund fraud
A Clackamas County resident has been charged alongside two other men for using two companies to fraudulently apply for $14 million in COVID-19 small business relief loans, according to an indictment unsealed April 22 in Manhattan Federal Court.
Apocalypse Bella, aka Dias Yumba, of Clackamas County was charged alongside Mackenzy Toussaint and Amos Mundendi for multiple counts of conspiracy and fraud that could land them 55 years in prison, given maximum sentences.
Bella, 36, was arrested March 18 in Virginia.
The case is pending before U.S. District Judge Paul A. Engelmayer, who will determine any sentencing of the defendants, the FBI said. The maximum potential sentences were determined by Congress.
Per the indictment, from March of last year up until the present, the three men used two companies to file a series of applications for the Small Business Administration's COVID-19 pandemic programs, specifically the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan. U.S. prosecutors didn't name the companies in the indictment, instead referring to them as company #1 and #2.
Loans totaling approximately $14 million were ultimately approved for the two New York-based companies, authorities said. The trio allegedly secured $4 million before they were arrested.
Bella allegedly transferred approximately $729,550 into a personal bank account, while Toussaint transferred roughly $138,000 into an account he controlled. Other funds were moved abroad and into an investment account, according to the indictment.
Applications for both companies were found to contain false information about the number of employees, payroll size and other financial information relating to the companies.
"Apocalypse Bella and his co-defendants are charged with engaging in a scheme to obtain over $14 million in fraudulent loans from the government," wrote U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss in the indictment.
"The coronavirus pandemic has profoundly affected the global economy, and government-funded coronavirus loan programs provide much-needed economic relief to individuals, families and businesses suffering economic hardships. This office and our law enforcement partners will continue to ensure the watchful protection of these critical funds from fraud," she added.
"Our actions should serve as a reminder of our steadfast commitment to bringing justice to those who would seek to illegally leverage government programs for selfishly personal gains. These defendants now face a personal reckoning — the result of which may be an extended stay in federal prison for each of them," said FBI Assistant Director William F. Sweeney Jr. in the indictment.
Bella describes himself as an "entrepreneur" and has a personal Instagram account with 31,800 followers. Another Instagram account linked to Bella, which has 111,000 followers, is for an organization called the Apocalypse Bella Foundation, whose mission is described as helping "individuals facing socio-economic hardships further their education at institutions of higher learning." He owns a record label called BMM Music Group, which he registered as a business name in Oregon in 2019.
Public records show Bella purchased a house in unincorporated urban Clackamas County in 2003.
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