NEWARK, N.J. – A Camden County, New Jersey, man was arrested for his role in an unemployment insurance benefits fraud scheme, U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced today.
Willie Carter, 22, of Bellmawr, New Jersey, is charged by complaint with one count of wire fraud. He was arrested on May 5, 2022, appeared by videoconference before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jessica S. Allen, and was released on $150,000 bond.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
On March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) was signed into law. The CARES Act expanded states’ ability to provide assistance to many workers impacted by COVID-19, including workers who are not ordinarily eligible for unemployment insurance benefits. The CARES Act provided for three new temporary programs: Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation and Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation.
Between July 2020 and October 2020, unemployment insurance applications in the name of Willie Carter were made to 10 different states. Each application used the same Internet Protocol Address. Between June 2020 and November 2020, the IP Address was associated with approximately 34 unemployment insurance benefits claims to various states, which paid out approximately $150,000. The investigation revealed that the IP Address is associated with Carter. Some of the more than $150,000 was transferred into two bank accounts in Carter’s name.
The charge of wire fraud is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross profits or gross loss, whichever is greatest.
U.S. Attorney Sellinger credited special agents of the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Jonathan Mellone in Manhattan, with the investigation leading to the arrest. He also thanked the U.S. Postal Inspection Service in Newark; special agents of the FBI in Newark, and special agents of the Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General, for their assistance.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew Kogan of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Cybercrime Unit in Newark.
The charge and allegations contained in the complaint are merely accusations, and the defendant is considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.
USAO - New Jersey;
Department of Labor OIG