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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Arkansas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, March 30, 2022

Ten Indicted in $2.7M Little Rock Fraud Ring

Four Defendants Detained; Allegedly Stole Pandemic Unemployment Funds

      LITTLE ROCK—Ten defendants have been indicted for their roles in a bank fraud conspiracy that involved theft of pandemic unemployment funds. Khi Simms, 27, of Alexander, Arkansas, was ordered to remain in federal custody late yesterday afternoon after a detention hearing held before United States Magistrate Judge J. Thomas Ray.

      Three other defendants, Brelyn London, 27; Karl Harris, 26; and Deuntae Diggs, 26; all of Little Rock, are also in custody awaiting trial. The remaining six defendants, Madison Clark, 24, of Alexander; Keshoun Coleman, 23; Derrick Harris, 19; Terence Holman, 27; Brandon Shavers, 29; and Quentin Watson, 27; all of Little Rock, have been released on bond to await trial, which is scheduled for April 18, 2022.

      The indictment alleges that the defendants used unemployment debit cards, which were designed to distribute pandemic unemployment assistance made available by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the CARES Act), to withdraw funds to which they were not entitled. According to the indictment, Madison Clark worked as a contract employee with a bank who had a role in distributing these unemployment debit cards for the state of California’s Employment Development Department.

      The indictment alleges that Clark used her access to issue debit cards, remove fraud blocks, and add credits to unemployment debit card accounts, resulting in approximately $2.7M in losses as calculated to this point in the investigation. Clark and Simms, and others Simms recruited, then used fraudulent debit cards to withdraw the funds Clark made available.

      All ten defendants are charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud, which carries a maximum penalty of 30 years imprisonment, a fine of up to $1M, and not more than five years of supervised release. All ten defendants are also charged with wire fraud, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000, and not more than five years of supervised release. The case is being investigated by the FBI and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Allison W. Bragg.

      An indictment contains only allegations. Defendants are presumed innocent unless and until they are proven guilty.

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This news release, as well as additional information about the office of the

United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas, is available online at

https://www.justice.gov/edar

Twitter:

@EDARNEWS

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Updated March 30, 2022