LAS VEGAS, Nev. – An undocumented individual pleaded guilty today to conspiracy to use over 100 victims’ identities (without their consent) to unlawfully submit fraudulent unemployment insurance benefits claims, totaling at least $934,129.
According to court documents and admissions made in court, from March 2020 to late October 2020, Alan Ray, 33, conspired with others to submit fraudulent unemployment insurance claims with the Nevada Department of Employment, Training, and Rehabilitation, California Employment Development Department, and other state workforce agencies. As part of the fraudulent scheme, Ray had the state workforce agencies mail debit cards — not in his name — containing unemployment benefits to addresses he had access to. In total, more than $934,129 in unemployment benefits was approved by the state workforce agencies, and at least $698,655 was withdrawn by Ray and his co-conspirators. The fraud was discovered when Ray attempted to ship fraudulently-obtained debit cards from Las Vegas to his residence in Houston, Texas.
Ray pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to possess counterfeit and unauthorized access devices. U.S. District Judge James C. Mahan scheduled sentencing for February 4, 2022. Ray faces a statutory maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Acting U.S. Attorney Christopher Chiou for the District of Nevada and Special Agent in Charge Aaron C. Rouse of the FBI made the announcement.
This case was investigated by the FBI with assistance from the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General (DOL-OIG), Los Angeles Region. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Fang is prosecuting the case.
On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to marshal the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across government to enhance efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud. The Task Force bolsters efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies tasked with administering relief programs to prevent fraud by, among other methods, augmenting and incorporating existing coordination mechanisms, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their schemes, and sharing and harnessing information and insights gained from prior enforcement efforts. For more information on the Department’s response to the pandemic, please visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus.
Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at: https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.
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