Tampa, Florida Man Facing Federal Indictment for Conspiracy to Commit Wire Fraud, Mail Fraud, and Other Federal Charges
Christopher Guy Allegedly Obtained more than $170,000 in Unemployment and Covid-19 Relief Funds
Baltimore, Maryland – A federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging Christopher Kenneth Guy, age 29, of Tampa, Florida, for the federal charges of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud, access device fraud, possession of unauthorized access devices, and aggravated identity theft.
The indictment was announced by Acting United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Jonathan F. Lenzner; Special Agent in Charge Derek Pickle, of the Washington Regional Office, U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General; Postal Inspector in Charge Peter R. Rendina of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service - Washington Division; and Chief Lisa D. Myers of the Howard County Police Department.
According to the indictment, from May 2020 to August 2020, Guy and his co-conspirators submitted bogus unemployment benefit applications to the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission using the personal identifying information of several identity theft victims. Guy and his co-conspirators allegedly listed mailing addresses, easily accessible to members of the conspiracy, to receive prepaid debit cards through the United States Postal Service.
Due to a heightened financial need caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES ACT) established the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation program (FPUC). The FPUC program allotted an additional $600 per week to unemployment benefit recipients. Allegedly, Guy and his co-conspirators caused the disbursement of more than $176,970 in unemployment and FPUC proceeds. Guy purportedly expended the sum of the illegally obtained proceeds on personal retail transactions and cash withdrawals.
Additionally, the indictment further alleges that Guy spent more than $10,000 in fraudulent transactions using 15 debit cards issued in seven victims’ names.
If convicted, Guy faces a maximum of 20 years in federal prison for conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud; a maximum of 15 years in federal prison for access device fraud; a maximum of 10 years in federal prison for possession of unauthorized access devices; and a mandatory minimum sentence of two years in federal prison, consecutive to any other sentence imposed, for aggravated identity theft. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after taking into account the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
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.
Acting United States Attorney Jonathan F. Lenzner commended the U.S. Department of Labor- OIG, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Howard County Police Department for their work in the investigation. Mr. Lenzner thanked Assistant U.S. Attorneys Matthew Maddox and Sean Delaney, who are prosecuting the federal case.
For more information on the Maryland U.S. Attorney’s Office, its priorities, and resources available to help the community, please visit https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/community-outreach. For more information on resources regarding reporting fraud, please visit https://www.justice.gov/usao-md/report-fraud.
# # #