Two felons admit guilt in scheme to steal thousands in COVID-19 unemployment insurance funds
Florida residents arrested after chase, crash in Georgia
SAVANNAH, GA (STL.News) Two Florida residents have admitted they colluded in a scheme to steal pandemic unemployment funds.
Tamesha Lashelle Brown, 41, of Dade City, Fla., and Malik Abdul McCaully, 43, of Tampa, pled guilty in U.S. District Court to Informations charging each of them with conspiring to commit various offenses, including mail fraud, wire fraud, bank fraud, disaster relief fraud, and access device fraud, said David H. Estes, Acting U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. The charge carries a maximum statutory penalty of up to five years in federal prison, along with substantial financial penalties and up to three years of supervised release. There is no parole in the federal system.
“COVID-19 relief funds approved by Congress were intended specifically to help unemployed citizens struggling financially during the pandemic,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Estes. “These defendants created a scheme to steal those funds for their own enrichment – but that scheme came to an end in Georgia.”
As described in court documents and testimony, Brown and McCaully were both convicted felons who obtained personal identifying information of other individuals, without those individuals’ knowledge or consent, and then used that information to file fraudulent applications for unemployment assistance, including with the State of Pennsylvania.