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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Milwaukee Man Sentenced to 6 Years in Prison for Unemployment Insurance Fraud and identity Theft

United States Attorney James L. Santelle of the Eastern District of Wisconsin announced that, on December 16, 2014, Calvin V. Sanders (52) of Milwaukee, Wisconsin was sentenced in the United States District Court to a total of 76 months imprisonment for his involvement in an unemployment insurance fraud scheme and aggravated identity theft.    

In addition to Sanders, four other individuals were convicted of participating in the scheme to defraud by obtaining unemployment insurance benefits through mail and wire fraud.  Sanders’ co-conspirators, Travis Arrington (29), Ebony Bates (36), Nicole Porter (39) and Jacob Shaw-Downey (25), received sentences ranging from time served to 10 months imprisonment.  Arrington, Bates, and Shaw Downey are Milwaukee residents, and Porter is a resident of Gary, Indiana.  In the course of the scheme, the conspirators obtained a total of $357,420 in unemployment insurance benefits from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development.  The court ordered that $357,420 in restitution be paid by the defendants jointly and severally.

Unemployment insurance benefits are provided by the federal and state government to individuals who have suffered involuntary job loss.  According to information disclosed in court, Sanders created several fictitious companies for the purpose of defrauding the government of unemployment insurance benefits.  Many accounts were created using the unlawfully obtained names and Social Security Numbers of unsuspecting individuals who were then registered as employees of the fictitious companies for the purpose of receiving unemployment insurance benefits despite the fact that no work was ever performed.  In some instances, accounts were created in the names of individuals who knowingly participated in the scheme to defraud the government.  A number of the identity theft victims resided in a rehabilitation center located in Gary, Indiana, where co-conspirator Nicole Porter was employed as certified nursing assistant.

In announcing these sentences, United States Attorney Santelle said:  “The criminal conduct of these defendants, acting both individually and collectively, defrauded the government of significant amounts of money intended for the legitimate benefit of citizens who have lost employment involuntarily.  The sentences imposed on them reflect the serious nature of the fraud and the purposeful victimization of individuals and government programs.”  Santelle specifically commended the agents and staff of the United States Department of Labor, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Wisconsin Department of Justice, and the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development for their “purposeful, comprehensive, and effective identification and investigation of these defendants, resulting in their criminal convictions and the sentences imposed on them this week.”

“The prosecutions illustrate the Office of Inspector General’s commitment to combating unemployment insurance fraud. We would like to thank the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development for their support in identifying the unemployment insurance fraud and their investigative partnership in ensuring the accountability and integrity of the program,” stated James Vanderberg, Special Agent-in-Charge of the United States Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General, Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations in Chicago.

The case was investigated by the United States Department of Labor in collaboration with the Wisconsin Department of Justice – Division of Criminal Investigation, the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, and the United States Postal Inspection Service. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Tracy M. Johnson.

Updated January 29, 2015