Tampa Woman Charged With Access Device Fraud And Aggravated Identity Theft Related To COVID Unemployment Insurance Benefits

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Tampa, Florida –United States Attorney Roger B. Handberg announces the return of an indictment charging Rolanda Wingfield (39, Tampa) with two counts of access device fraud, one count of possession of 15 or more unauthorized access devices, and two counts of aggravated identity theft. If convicted, Wingfield faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison for each of the access device offenses, as well as a consecutive two years in federal prison for the aggravated identity offenses. The indictment also notifies Wingfield that the United States intends to forfeit any proceeds, which are alleged to be traceable to the offense. 

According to the indictment, between May and July 2020, Wingfield obtained personal identifying information of other persons and submitted, or caused to be submitted, false and fraudulent unemployment insurance (UI) claims to various state workforce agencies for UI benefits. These UI benefits were then transferred to bank accounts or loaded onto debits cards issued in the names of other persons. Wingfield then used, and attempted to use, the fraudulently obtained debit cards to withdraw money from ATMs. On July 28, 2020, Wingfield was found to be in possession of 15 unauthorized access devices, specifically Social Security numbers of other individuals.

An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.

In March 2020, the President signed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, which expanded states’ ability to provide UI for many workers impacted by COVID-19, including for workers who were not ordinarily eligible for benefits.

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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.

This case was investigated by the Department of Labor – Office of Inspector General and the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Gregory D. Pizzo and John Cannizzaro.