A woman from Riverside County has been arrested on the federal charges that state that she had defrauded the unemployment insurance system of California. She had done that by using the stolen identity information acquired from the darknet for fraudulently receiving over half a million dollars in the benefit of Covid-19.
The accused has been identified to be Cara Marie Kirk-Connell aged 32 years, a resident of Menifee. She had got her name in a federal criminal complaint where she had been charged with mail fraud, stolen identity and as well as access device fraud. Her initial appearance is expected on the 13th of October in the Riverside’s United States District Court.
An affidavit has been filed with her complaint on the 11th of September and Murrieta police has conducted traffic cease of the accused. A search of the car had borne the seizure of debit cards numbering to eight that contained the unemployment benefits registered in other people’s name. The affidavit also states that the unemployment benefits also included over $30,000 in cash along with several driver’s licenses for several other motorists.
The accused had been interviewed by the cops when she admitted that she, along with the others, would visit the dark web and acquire the identifying information of other people. She then utilized the information to apply for the unemployment benefits from the Californian Employment Department. The organisation distributes the unemployment benefits under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES), under the bill passed by Congress back in March. The CARES Act has expanded the unemployment benefits for covering those who had previously been ineligible, consisting of the business owners, independent contractors and the self-employed workers. These people had been put out of the business or had reduced their services significantly owing to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Additionally, the accused had admitted that she had once applied for the benefits in the name of other people. She also used to send the debit cards to an address where she would receive the debit cards and activate them using the Social Security Numbers (SSNs) of the victim. She would also use the PINs that she had chosen and then make several ATM withdrawals along with other expenditures, as stated by the affidavit.
The records provided by EDD has also shown that the bunch of stolen identity and the debit cards the accused had possessed, had been used to apply for as well as authorise nearly $534,149 in the unemployment benefit of Covid-19 from California’s EDD program. Of the amount stated, almost $270,000 had already been spent, as the affidavit mentions. Furthermore, EDD records have shown that some of the individual debit cards had over $17,000 loaded on the cards at the time of issuance.
A complaint contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
If the accused had been convicted of all the mentioned charges, she is likely to face a statutory maximum jail sentence of 32 years in the federal prison.
The U.S. Department of Labor had conducted this investigation of stolen identity – Office of Inspector General, United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) and the IRS Criminal Investigation. The investigation was the result of The Department of Justice (DOJ) National Unemployment Insurance Fraud Task Force. Murrieta Police Department And California’s EDD Criminal Investigations had provided he substantial assistance.
Source: Shore News
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