On November 16, 2021, U.S. District Judge Robert Conrad sentenced four Charlotte men to prison for their involvement in a bank fraud and identity theft scheme. The convicted men are Jamel Johnson, 31, David Clarke, 30, Justin Parks, 32, and Mikael Roberts, 27.
Two of the defendants were also sentenced on separate charges for receiving fraudulent COVID-19 Unemployment Insurance benefits.
On June 19, 2020, a federal grand jury indicted the four men for executing a bank fraud scheme using stolen identities. From as early as April 2019, the defendants obtained over the internet and elsewhere multiple victims’ personal identifying information, including names, social security numbers, dates of birth, and addresses, which they used to apply for and obtain fraudulent bank loans – including automobile and personal loans along with other goods such as Apple iPhones and iPads.
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During the course of the scheme, the men fraudulently attempted to obtain more than $1,000,000 in fraudulent loans and merchandise. In September and October 2020, federal wire fraud charges were filed separately against Jamel and David for using stolen identities to obtain COVID-19 unemployment insurance benefits.
Over the course of the investigation into the bank loan scheme, law enforcement discovered that Jamel and David were executing a separate scheme involving COVID-19 unemployment benefits.
Jamel and David defrauded the U.S. Department of Labor, the State of Wisconsin, and the State of Arizona by submitting fraudulent claims for unemployment insurance benefits in the names of identity theft victims.
During the relevant time period, Jamel fraudulently obtained more than $189,912 in fraudulent unemployment benefits using the names of approximately 70 victims. Similarly, David obtained over $79,000 in fraudulent benefits using the compromised identities of more than 60 victims.
Jamel was sentenced to 70 months in prison. David was ordered to serve 54 months in prison. Justin was sentenced to 65 months in prison, and Mikael was ordered to serve 57 months in prison.