CHARLOTTE MAN ACCUSED OF STEALING $60,000 IN UNEMPLOYMENT COVID-19 BENEFITS
Only in America can an unemployed person collect hundreds of dollars a week in unemployment benefits, must be nice.
A federal grand jury sitting in Charlotte, NC has indicted Rashawn Prioleau, 35, on multiple financial institution fraud and aggravated identity theft charges, for allegedly stealing more than $60,000 from government-funded COVID-19 benefit programs.
According to allegations in the criminal bill of indictment, Rashawn allegedly engaged in a scheme to defraud the U.S. Department of Labor, the U.S. Small Business Administration, and other North and South Carolina state agencies by filing fraudulent claims for COVID-19 related unemployment insurance benefits using stolen information of identity theft victims.
The indictment further alleges that Rashawn also fraudulently applied for two Economic Injury Disaster Loans based on false information.
As alleged in the indictment, from at least April 2020 to September 2020, Rashawn allegedly obtained the personal identifying information of at least seven identity theft victims, including names, social security numbers, dates of birth, and addresses, and used it to file for fraudulent unemployment benefits in North and South Carolina.
Rashawn allegedly directed the payments of the unemployment benefits be made to debit cards or bank accounts under his control. As alleged in the indictment, in July 2020, Rashawn also allegedly applied with the Small Business Association for two economic disaster loans using fraudulent business information.
Over the course of the alleged scheme, Rashawn allegedly obtained approximately $60,397 in government-funded COVID-19 benefits.
Rashawn is charged with nine counts of bank fraud, which carry a maximum prison term of 30 years and a $1,000,000 fine per count; two counts of making a false statement to the Small Business Association, and two counts of aggravated identity theft.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act is a federal law enacted on March 29, 2020, designed to provide emergency financial assistance, including expanded unemployment benefits to millions of Americans suffering the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Economic Injury Disaster Loan sponsored by the United States Small Business Administration was expanded under the CARES Act, and it is designed to provide support for small businesses to remedy economic harm caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.