UFC Hall of Famer Tito Ortiz has angrily refuted the claims that he filed for “fraudulent” welfare aid during the coronavirus pandemic.
According to Daily Mail, Ortiz has collected $179-per-week checks from the United States government after applying for COVID-19 relief. Ortiz has reportedly been collecting the relief checks since July 2020 despite the fact that he has been the Huntington Beach pro tem mayor since November 2020, a position that pays him $1400 a month.
Fellow councilors said that Ortiz has been receiving unemployment checks for the last six weeks despite having the job as pro tem mayor, and the FBI was reportedly called in to investigate potential fraud. However, Ortiz says that he is now off of the COVID-19 welfare aid as he has secured a film role that has helped him put money in the bank.
According to Ortiz, he was forced to collect the unemployment checks because he ran out of work due to the pandemic. He reportedly made over $20 million dollars in his MMA career, but half of that money was taxed, and the rest of the savings he had he apparently spent already, which necessitated him applying for the welfare checks.
“This is the first time in my life I’ve had to go to unemployment. I take care of myself, my girlfriend, my three kids, my mother, my stepfather so I have a whole family to take care of. For the first time in my career, I wasn’t getting paid for the jobs I normally do because of the pandemic. When I heard about the pandemic relief, I thought perhaps I can get some help – they can help with food for my family. I thought I was going to get a lot more money than I did but I made the best of it,” Tito Ortiz said.
Ortiz told Daily Mail that he had to get the unemployment checks because he has to take care of his home as well as his mother’s home, as well as purchase health insurance for his family, not to mention paying the lease on his Porsche and buying food and gas. Ortiz also said that he informed officials once he was collecting the pro tem mayor checks, and he believes that these councilors going after him now is a politically motivated attack.