Woman Pleads Guilty to Unemployment Benefits and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) Fraud
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Defendant Millisen M. Martínez-Medina pleaded guilty before United States Magistrate Judge Camille Vélez-Rivé to 13 counts of theft of government funds from the Unemployment Insurance and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program, announced W. Stephen Muldrow, U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico. She was charged in 12 separate cases regarding PUA fraud in April and October of 2021.
According to court documents, from June 2020, up to December 2020, Millisen M. Martínez-Medina engaged in deceptive conduct designed to fraudulently obtain Unemployment Insurance compensation from the Puerto Rico Department of Labor and Human Resources (PRDLHR) by using false personal identification information, including false social security numbers. Specifically, the defendant submitted to the PRDLHR Unemployment Insurance (UI) applications on her own behalf and on behalf of at least twelve others, utilizing false social security numbers.
Martínez-Medina, willfully and knowingly stole and converted to her own use or the use of another, money of the United States, namely UI benefits, payments to which no one was entitled, having a value of approximately $474,504.00.
Defendant Martínez-Medina is scheduled to be sentenced on August 23, 2022 and faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison for each count. A federal district court judge will determine the sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
These cases were investigated by various federal agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), the United States Department of Labor Office of Inspector General (USDOL-OIG), and the Social Security Office of Inspector General (SSA-OIG), with the assistance of local law enforcement officials from the Puerto Rico Police Bureau (PRPB), the Puerto Rico Department of Labor and Human Resources, and the Puerto Rico Department of Treasury (Hacienda).
Special Assistant U.S. Attorney (SAUSA) Vanessa D. Bonano-Rodríguez from the Social Security Administration and Assistant U.S. Attorney Victor Acevedo are in charge of the prosecution of these cases.
To report a COVID-19-related fraud scheme or suspicious activity, contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) by calling the NCDF Hotline at 1-866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at: https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.