7 Ohioans indicted on fraud charges for pandemic unemployment insurance benefits scheme

7 Ohioans indicted on fraud charges for pandemic unemployment insurance benefits scheme
7 Ohioans indicted on fraud charges for pandemic unemployment insurance benefits scheme
Published: Aug. 27, 2021 at 5:46 AM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Seven people from the Cleveland area were indicted Thursday for their roles in a COVID-19 pandemic unemployment insurance benefits scheme.

Acting U.S. Attorney Bridget M. Brennan said the people listed below are facing charges of wire fraud, mail fraud and conspiracy to commit mail fraud:

  • Lawrence Lawson, 41, Cleveland, Ohio
  • Cierra Clifton, 38, Willowick, Ohio
  • Emanuel Smith, 49, Cleveland, Ohio
  • Terrance Jones, 27, Cleveland, Ohio
  • Quantez Lawson, 29, Cleveland, Ohio
  • Charles Moore, 35, Cleveland, Ohio
  • Mark Dailey, 54, Cleveland, Ohio

According to a news release from the Department of Justice, they filed fake unemployment applications to obtain pandemic unemployment insurance benefits they were not owed.

Their applications were submitted, processed and accepted. The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services sent them debit cards in the mail pre-loaded with pandemic unemployment insurance benefits. In total, they were paid out more than $290,000, the acting U.S. attorney said.

The scheme continued for months, beginning around March 17, 2020 and ending around Nov. 13, 2020.

“These individuals are believed to have engaged in fraud in order to financially enrich themselves.  Anytime fraud is committed using a government funded program all tax paying citizens are victims.  The FBI will continue to work with our partners to ensure fraud is uncovered and dealt with in a court of law,” Eric Smith, FBI Special Agent in Charge, said in the release.

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