Defendant Sentenced For Role In Sophisticated International Scheme To Steal Money From American Consumers' Bank Accounts
LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Ten individuals have been charged in the District of Nevada for their alleged roles in unemployment insurance fraud schemes, including charges for conspiracy, mail fraud, identity theft, and unlawful possession and use of fraudulently obtained unemployment debit cards.
U.S. Attorney Nicholas A. Trutanich of the District of Nevada; Special Agent-in-Charge Quentin Heiden of the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General (DOL-OIG), Los Angeles Region; Executive Special Agent-in-Charge John D. Masters of the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General (USPS-OIG), Office of Investigations, Western Area Field Office; Special Agent-in-Charge Brian Spellacy of the U.S. Secret Service, Las Vegas Field Office; and Special Agent-in-Charge Aaron C. Rouse of the FBI, Las Vegas Field Office made the announcement.
“On behalf of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, we’re grateful for our law enforcement partners’ hard work and coordination in bringing to justice those who have taken unemployment funds —intended to help Nevadans who lost their jobs due to the pandemic — for their own illegal gain,” said U.S. Attorney Trutanich. “We will continue devoting the resources and skills to investigating and stopping fraudsters from stealing taxpayer dollars meant for out-of-work Nevadans.”
“These charges demonstrate the Office of Inspector General’s commitment to combating fraud against the Unemployment Insurance program, which has become increasingly prevalent amid the pandemic. We will continue to work with our law enforcement and state workforce agency partners to pursue individuals who seek to undermine the integrity of the Unemployment Insurance program,” said Quentin Heiden, Special Agent-in-Charge, Los Angeles Region, U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General.
“Today’s indictment of Ms. Jasmine Black sends a clear message that Mail Fraud, Identity Theft, and Obstruction of U.S. Mail, committed by a Postal Service employee, carries very serious consequences. The public we serve can rest assured that the Postal Service OIG, U.S. Attorney’s Office, and our partner law enforcement agencies remain committed to safeguarding the integrity of the U.S. Mail and ensuring the accountability and integrity of U.S. Postal Service employees,” said John Masters, Executive Special Agent-in-Charge, U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General (USPS-OIG), Office of Investigations, Western Area Field Office.
“The US Secret Service will continue to work with law enforcement and private partners to prioritize the investigative work required to combat a new wave of COVID-19 related fraud,” said Brian Spellacy, Special Agent-in-Charge, U.S. Secret Service, Las Vegas Field Office.
"Unfortunately the victims of these crimes are the unemployed citizens who are relying on these benefits to take care of their families; feeding them and keeping a roof over their heads. The FBI will continue working with our law enforcement partners to stop those who gain financially at the expense of taxpayers," said Aaron C. Rouse, Special Agent-in-Charge, FBI, Las Vegas Field Office.
According to the six federal criminal complaints announced today:
A total of five of these defendants are in custody, three of which are currently in state custody at Clark County Detention Center on state charges. Two other defendants have made arrangements through their attorneys to self-surrender tomorrow morning. Black, Greenland, and Griesel are expected to make their initial court appearances in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas on October 16, 2020, all before U.S. Magistrate Judge Daniel J. Albregts. Naeger made his initial court appearance today in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Texas. Dean, Rochester, and Hunter are currently in custody at Clark County Detention Center and will make their initial appearances in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas at a date to be determined later.
The minimum statutory penalty for aggravated identity theft is two years in prison. The maximum statutory penalty for mail fraud is 20 years in prison; for possession of counterfeit and unauthorized access devices, 10 years in prison; for illegal transactions with an access device, 15 years in prison; and for obstruction of mail, five years in prison. The maximum fine for each of these charges is $250,000. The minimum and maximum statutory sentences are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only.
A criminal complaint is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
These cases are the products of investigations by the DOL-OIG, USPS-OIG, and U.S. Secret Service, with assistance from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, the FBI, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Nevada Attorney General’s Office. These cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Fang.
Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 should please report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at: https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.
For information about COVID-19 fraud, visit the Department of Justice’s website at https://www.justice.gov/file/1319301/download for prevention tips.