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Press Release

Man Sentenced to 46 Months for Using Stolen Identities of UCSD Students to Commit Bank Fraud and Pandemic-related Unemployment Fraud

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of California

Nehemiah Joel Weaver—who used the stolen identities of UCSD undergraduate students to commit bank and Covid-related frauds and then threatened someone he believed was working to expose his crimes—was sentenced in federal court to 46 months in prison and ordered to pay $225,392 in restitution to victims.

Weaver pleaded guilty in September 2022 to bank fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft charges.  He admitted to using the identities of at least 15 people, a group that included UCSD students, his former supervisor, and a former girlfriend. Weaver’s co-defendant, Mia Nikole Bell, admitted to stealing the student identities in her capacity as a UCSD employee and to providing them to Weaver.  She was sentenced in December 2022 to four months in custody and was ordered to pay $16,480 in restitution.

Weaver further admitted in his plea agreement that he initially used some of the identities to open accounts and take out loans in the victims’ names at a credit union.  Months later, he used the identities to obtain over $200,000 in Covid-related unemployment benefit payments from California and Arizona. 

When Weaver learned of law enforcement’s investigation into his fraud, he sent threatening text messages to a perceived cooperating witness—including one in which he claimed to have “[p]aid good money” to have them killed.

Weaver also sent these text messages to the supposed cooperating witness: “NO MERCY!” “How long do you think you will be safe for? You are just a sitting duck[.]” “Lol so dead you don’t even know it yet[.]” “Can’t wait to see the look on your face. Paid good money to see it.”

In imposing the sentence, U.S. District Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel noted Weaver was on probation for felony identity theft convictions when he committed these new crimes. The judge noted the harm, anger, and fear that identity theft causes victims and observed that Weaver defrauded government agencies that exist to help people.  Judge Curiel ordered the forfeiture of cash and the luxury vehicle that investigators seized from Weaver. 

“Mr. Weaver used stolen identities to defraud critical state agencies that sought to help Americans during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said United States Attorney Randy S. Grossman. “This office will continue to work with our federal, state, and local agency partners in the investigation of such crimes and the pursuit of justice for victims.”

  Grossman thanked the prosecution team, the United States Secret Service and the San Diego Police Department for their excellent work on this case.

“Today’s sentencing is an example of our dedication and commitment to protecting the American financial system and targeting those who, by fraudulent means, seek to exploit and profit from government assistance programs,” said Special Agent in Charge Jason Reynolds, San Diego Field Office, U.S. Secret Service. “We, along with our law enforcement partners, are committed to pursuing justice and holding criminals accountable for their actions.”

As part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act of 2020, Congress provided new unemployment benefits for those affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic who would not otherwise qualify for unemployment insurance.  The EDD administers unemployment insurance benefits in California, and DES does the same in Arizona.

If you think you are a victim of COVID-19 fraud, immediately report it the FBI (visit,, or call 1-800-CALL-FBI or the San Diego FBI at 858-320-1800.  In addition, the public is urged to report suspected fraud schemes related to COVID-19 by calling the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) hotline (1-866-720-5721) or by e-mailing the NCDF at

DEFENDANTS                                            Case Number 21-CR-2722-GPC                            

Nehemiah Joel Weaver                                               Age: 37                                   San Diego, CA

Mia Nikole Bell                                                          Age: 32                                   Houston, TX


Bank Fraud – Title 18, U.S.C., Section 1344(1)

Maximum penalty: Thirty years in prison; $1 million fine or twice the pecuniary gain/loss

Mail Fraud – Title 18, U.S.C., Section 1341

Maximum penalty: Twenty years in prison; $250,000 fine or twice the pecuniary gain/loss

Wire Fraud – Title 18, U.S.C., Section 1343

Maximum penalty: Twenty years in prison; $250,000 fine or twice the pecuniary gain/loss

Aggravated Identity Theft – Title 18, U.S.C., Section 1028A

Mandatory minimum two years in prison


United States Secret Service

San Diego Police Department



Assistant U. S. Attorney Eric R. Olah (619) 546-7540    

Updated July 7, 2023

Identity Theft
Press Release Number: CAS23-0707-Weaver