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Press Release

Florida Man Pleads Guilty To Covid-19 Related Fraud And Identity Theft Offenses In Connection With A Scheme To Unlawfully Obtain Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Funds

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Pennsylvania

SCRANTON- The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that Jorice Williams Dennard, age 25, of Tampa, Florida, pleaded guilty today before United States District Court Judge Robert D. Mariani to mail fraud and identity theft offenses in connection with a scheme to unlawfully obtain Pennsylvania Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) funds.

According to United States Attorney John C. Gurganus, the criminal Information to which Dennard pleaded guilty alleges that Dennard submitted a false application with the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry for PUA funds utilizing the personal identification information, including name, birth date, and social security number of another person.  The PUA program is administered by the various states, including Pennsylvania, but its benefits are funded in part by the federal government through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (or “CARES Act”).  The Information further alleges that Dennard also falsely provided a residential address in Jim Thorpe, PA on the same fraudulent application and then, on January 28, 2021, traveled to this address and to the Jim Thorpe Post Office in an effort to obtain a package addressed to his identity theft victim that contained a debit card in the victim’s name with a balance of over $14,000 in PUA funds.

This case stems from an investigation by the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffery St John.

On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to marshal the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across government to enhance efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud. The Task Force bolsters efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies tasked with administering relief programs to prevent fraud by, among other methods, augmenting and incorporating existing coordination mechanisms, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their schemes, and sharing and harnessing information and insights gained from prior enforcement efforts. For more information on the Department’s response to the pandemic, please visit

Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at:

The maximum penalty under federal law for these offenses is 22 years imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine.  There is also a mandatory minimum period of imprisonment of 2 years that attaches.  A sentence following a finding of guilt will be imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes.

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Updated April 26, 2022