Two Men Indicted in Identity Theft Scheme to Fraudulently Obtain at Least $170,000 in Maryland Unemployment Benefits
Baltimore, Maryland - A federal grand jury has indicted Vivek Jain, age 25, of Gaithersburg, Maryland, and Amiee Arora, age 31, of Washington, D.C., in connection with a scheme to use the personal identifying information of others to fraudulently obtain at least $170,000 in Maryland unemployment benefits issued in the form of prepaid debit cards. The indictment was returned on July 14, 2011, and unsealed today.
Amiee Arora had his initial appearance before Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge Paul W. Grimm in federal court in Baltimore today and is detained pending a detention hearing scheduled for Friday, August 26, 2011 at 1:00 p.m. Vivek Jain previously had his initial appearance and was released under the supervision of U.S. Pretrial Services.
The indictment was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Acting Special Agent-in-Charge William R. Jones, U.S. Department of Labor-Office of Inspector General, Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations; and Postal Inspector in Charge Daniel S. Cortez of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service - Washington Division.
According to the indictment, Arora was the sole director and resident agent of Top Of The Line Marketing, Inc. (TOTL Marketing) and Jain worked for him. The six count indictment alleges that from February 14, 2010 through February 14, 2011, Arora and Jain used the identifying information of other individuals that they obtained during the course of their employment at TOTL Marketing to fraudulently apply for Maryland unemployment benefits, often using mailing addresses from real estate listings. The indictment alleges that Arora instructed Jain as to how to fraudulently apply for Maryland unemployment benefits. Once the fraudulent benefits were approved, the defendants allegedly changed the mailing address for the debit cards to mailboxes that they rented at commercial establishments. The indictment alleges that the defendants then used the cards to withdraw cash from ATM machines.
The indictment seeks the forfeiture of $170,000, believed to be the proceeds of the scheme.
The defendants face a maximum sentence of five years in prison for the conspiracy; 10 years in prison for each count of access device fraud; 20 years in prison for mail fraud; and a mandatory two years in prison, consecutive to any other sentence, for aggravated identity theft.
An indictment is not a finding of guilt. An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceedings.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein praised the U.S. Department of Labor-Office of Inspector General, Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service for their work in the investigation and thanked the District Attorney’s Office, Atlantic Judicial District in Liberty County, Georgia and the Darien, Georgia, Police Department for their assistance. Mr. Rosenstein thanked Assistant United States Attorneys Harry M. Gruber and Tamera L. Fine, who are prosecuting the case.