Federal Grand Jury Indicts Two Peoria, Illinois, Residents for Fraud Related to COVID Relief Funds and Unemployment Insurance
PEORIA, Ill. – A grand jury returned indictments on January 18, 2023, against two Peoria, Illinois, brothers, charging them with wire fraud and making false statements related to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) administered and unemployment insurance benefits:
Derek Griffin, 35, was charged with four counts of wire fraud and two counts of false statements. The indictment alleges the offenses occurred from July 2020 through July 2022 in Peoria County, Illinois.
Eric Griffin, 35, was charged with five counts of wire fraud and two counts of false statements. The indictment alleges the offenses occurred from July 2020 through June 2021 in Peoria County, Illinois.
Each of the individuals has been issued a summons to appear in federal court in Peoria for arraignment on February 15, 2023. If convicted, the maximum statutory penalties for each of the wire fraud counts is a maximum of 20 years’ imprisonment, a three-year term of supervised release, $250,000 fine, and restitution. Each of the false statement counts has a maximum penalty of five years’ imprisonment, a three-year term of supervised release, $250,000 fine, and restitution.
The investigation was conducted by the Department of the Treasury, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Springfield Office. Criminal Chief Darilynn J. Knauss is representing the government in the prosecutions.
COVID-19 disaster relief and enhanced unemployment benefits are intended to help people and businesses suffering as a result of the pandemic. If members of the public suspect anyone fraudulently obtained or misused benefits, they should contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NDCF) Hotline at 1-866-720-5721 or submit the NCDF Web Complaint Form. The NCDF is a national coordinating agency within the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division dedicated to improving the detection, prevention, investigation, and prosecution of criminal conduct related to natural and man-made disasters and other emergencies, such as the coronavirus (COVID-19). Hotline staff will obtain information regarding complaints, which will then be reviewed by law enforcement officials. More information is available at https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud.
Members of the public are reminded that an indictment is merely an accusation; the defendant is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.