PENDING CRIMINAL DIVISION CASES
United States v. Tyshion Nautese Hicks et al
Court Docket No.: 1:22-CR-37
United States v. Edith Nate Hicks
Court Docket No.: 1:22-CR-38
Court Assigned: These cases are assigned to the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Georgia, C.B. King U.S. District Court, 201 West Broad Avenue, Albany, GA 31701.
Latest Updates: On November 15, 2022, defendant Edith Nate Hicks pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
Criminal Charges: On November 30, 2022, charges were unsealed against eight individuals for conspiring to defraud the Department of Labor of tens of millions of dollars in federal funds. Seven defendants have been indicted, and one defendant has pleaded guilty to a criminal information in a scheme centered around Cordele, Georgia.
According to court documents, Tyshion Nautese Hicks, 30, of Vienna, Georgia; Shatara Hubbard, 34, of Warner Robins, Georgia; Torella Wynn, 30, of Cordele, Georgia; Macovian Doston, 29, of Vienna; Kenya Whitehead, 35, of Cordele; A’Darrion Alexander, 27, of Warner Robins; Membrish Brown, 27, of Vienna; and Edith Nate Hicks, 45, of Atlanta, Georgia and others allegedly caused more than 5,000 fraudulent unemployment insurance (UI) claims to be filed with the Georgia Department of Labor (GaDOL), resulting in at least $30 million in stolen benefits meant to assist unemployed individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic.
To execute the scheme, the defendants and others allegedly created fictitious employers and fabricated lists of purported employees using stolen personally identifiable information (PII) from thousands of identity theft victims and filed fraudulent unemployment insurance claims on the GaDOL website. The defendants allegedly stole PII from a variety of sources, including by paying defendant Edith Nate Hicks, an employee of an Atlanta-area healthcare and hospital network, to unlawfully obtain patients’ PII from the hospital’s databases. The defendants also allegedly caused the stolen UI funds to be disbursed via prepaid debit cards mailed to addresses of their choice, many of which were in and around Cordele and Vienna.
Tyshion Nautese Hicks, Hubbard, Wynn, Doston, Whitehead, Alexander, and Brown are each charged by indictment with conspiracy to commit mail fraud, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. Tyshion Nautese Hicks and Doston are also charged with aggravated identity theft, which carries a mandatory two-year prison sentence that must be imposed consecutively with any other sentence. Alexander is also charged with money laundering, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.
Victim Impact Statement: If you would like to submit a Victim Impact Statement, you may do so by mailing the Victim Impact Statement below (or a letter to the court) to: Victim Witness Unit, U.S. Department of Justice, Criminal Division, Fraud Section, 10th & Constitution Avenue, NW, Bond Building, Room 4416, Washington, DC 20530. You also may submit the Victim Impact Statement via email at Victimassistance.firstname.lastname@example.org or by fax at: (202) 514-3708.
The information on this website will be updated as new developments arise in the case. If you have any questions, please call the Victim Assistance Line toll-free at (888) 549-3945 or email us at VictimAssistance.email@example.com.
Presumption of Innocence: It is important to keep in mind that a criminal indictment is merely an allegation, and defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty and that presumption requires both the court and our office to take certain steps to ensure that justice is served.
Crime Victims’ Rights Act and Right to Retain Counsel: Because charges have been filed in this case in federal court, you also may be entitled to the following rights, according to the Crime Victims’ Rights Act, Title 18, United States Code, Section 3771: (1) The right to be reasonably protected from the accused; (2) The right to reasonable, accurate, and timely notice of any public court proceeding, or any parole proceeding, involving the crime or of any release or escape of the accused; (3) The right not to be excluded from any such public court proceeding, unless the court, after receiving clear and convincing evidence, determines that testimony by the victim would be materially altered if the victim heard other testimony at that proceeding; (4) The right to be reasonably heard at any public proceeding in the district court involving release, plea, sentencing, or any parole proceeding; (5) The reasonable right to confer with the attorney for the Government in the case; (6) The right to full and timely restitution as provided in law; (7) The right to proceedings free from unreasonable delay; (8) The right to be treated with fairness and with respect for the victim’s dignity and privacy; (9) The right to be informed in a timely manner of any plea bargain or deferred prosecution agreement; and (10) The right to be informed of the rights under this section and the services described in section 503(c) of the Victims’ Rights and Restitution Act of 1990 (42 U.S.C. § 10607(c)) and provided contact information for the Office of the Victims’ Rights Ombudsman of the Department of Justice. The Crime Victims’ Rights Act (18 U.S.C. § 3771) applies only to victims of the counts charged in federal court, and thus individuals may not be able to exercise all of these rights if the crime of which the individual is a victim was not charged.
Section 3771(c)(2) of this Act requires that we advise you that you have the right to retain counsel. Although the statute specifically sets forth your right to seek advice of an attorney with regard to your rights under the statute, there is no requirement that you retain counsel. The Government may not recommend any specific counsel, nor can the Government (or the Court) pay for counsel to represent you. Government attorneys represent the United States.
If you elect to obtain counsel to represent your interests, please have your attorney notify this office in writing at: U.S. Department of Justice, Criminal Division, Fraud Section, 10th & Constitution Avenue, NW, Bond Building, 4th Floor, Washington, DC 20530, Attention: Victim Witness Unit; fax: (202) 514-3708; or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you elect not to retain counsel to represent your interests, you do not need to do anything.
Plea Agreements: Please be aware that many criminal cases are resolved by plea agreement between the Department of Justice and the defendant. You should also know that it is not unusual for a defendant to seek to negotiate a plea agreement shortly before trial is scheduled to begin. Plea agreements can be made at any time and as late as the morning of trial, leaving little or no opportunity to provide notice to you of the date and time of the plea hearing. If the court schedules a plea hearing in this case, we will use our best efforts to notify you of available information as soon as practicable. If you want to inform the prosecutor of your views regarding potential plea agreements, or any other aspect of the case, please contact the prosecutor assigned to this case or call the Victim Assistance Line toll-free at (888) 549-3945 or email us at email@example.com.