Fraud schemes are becoming more common during the age of COVID, with the government offering business loans and stimulus checks to help with finances. People are finding dishonest ways to get a hold of these funds.
A Maryland man concocted several schemes beginning in 2018. He recently pled guilty to several crimes and faces harsh penalties.
From October 2018 to November 2020, the 40-year-old man from Baltimore County conspired with others to defraud multiple individuals, banks, and businesses of more than $750,000. In 2020, the man used unauthorized access devices to obtain more than $900,000 in COVID-19 related benefits, such as loans and unemployment insurance. He used the identities of more than 50 people to defraud the state and federal governments.
The man used an encrypted text messaging application to obtain the personal information of his victims, coordinate the use of unemployment insurance and COVID-19 related benefits, and receive unemployment debit cards to various addresses throughout Maryland. He would then use these fraudulent debit cards for ATM transactions.
The man also engaged in wire fraud. He and his co-conspirators used fake IDs and passports to open bank accounts and gain access to the fraud proceeds. In July 2020, he took advantage of COVID benefits and applied for a $31,200 Paycheck Protection Program loan by registering a business called Yours Truly LLC. The man falsely claimed that his business had more than $132,000 in gross revenues in 2019. He received the loan funds and did not spend it on employee salaries as required. Instead, he spent it on unknown personal expenses.
The man was arrested by federal agents in November 2020. He made false statements to the agents, claiming that he had never been involved in any fraud schemes. He also falsely claimed that he never used Yours Truly LLC even though he received loans for the company just six months earlier.
The man has pled guilty to access device fraud, conspiracy to commit access device fraud, and aggravated identity theft. He entered a plea agreement and will be ordered to pay restitution totaling more than $1.5 million. In addition, he faces up to 17 years in prison for the three crimes, including a mandatory minimum of two years for the aggravated identity theft. His sentencing is scheduled for May 20.
Many people have taken advantage of the coronavirus pandemic and engaged in various fraud schemes to make money. These people think they won’t get caught but they often do.
Have you been accused of fraud? If so, seek legal help from a Columbia white collar crime lawyer from The Law Offices of Todd K. Mohink, P.A. While fraud is not a violent crime, it is financially devastating and can affect a person for many years. Call (410) 774-5987 or fill out the online form to schedule a free consultation. We have two offices to serve you.
7310 Ritchie Highway, Suite 910
Glen Burnie, MD 21061
30 Corporate Center
10440 Little Patuxent Parkway,
Columbia, MD 21044