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Press Release

South Florida Recidivist Fraudster Sentenced to 88 Months for COVID-19 Related Unemployment Insurance Scam

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

MIAMI – Marlin Jean, 31, has been sentenced to 88 months in prison for stealing other people’s identities to fraudulently obtain $826,332 in COVID-19 related unemployment benefits from the State of California. The stolen benefits came from federal funds provided to state unemployment agencies to help Americans economically harmed by the global pandemic.

From August 2020 through October 2021, Jean spearheaded a scheme to use the stolen identities of dozens of Florida and California residents (among others) to fraudulently open accounts in their names with the California Employment Development Division (“EDD”). Jean then directed the EDD to mail the unemployment benefits, issued in the form of pre-paid debit cards, to addresses throughout South Florida. Acquaintances collected the cards for Jean to use for his personal benefit. Jean committed this crime soon after completing a federal sentence on a separate 2016 fraud conviction.

Jean pled guilty on December 21, 2022, to one count of possession of fifteen or more unauthorized access devices and one count of aggravated identity theft. In addition to his prison sentence, Jean has been ordered to pay $826,332 in restitution.

U.S. Attorney Markenzy Lapointe for the Southern District of Florida and acting Special Agent in Charge Michael E. Buckley, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Miami, announced the sentence imposed by U.S. District Judge Roy K. Altman.

HSI Miami investigated the case, with assistance from U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Miami Beach Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Eduardo Gardea Jr. prosecuted the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua Paster is handling asset forfeiture.

In March 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) Act was enacted. It was designed to provide emergency financial assistance to the millions of Americans suffering the economic effects caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Among other sources of relief, the CARES Act provided hundreds of billions of dollars in federal funds for unemployment insurance benefits to be distributed by the states directly to their residents.

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

On September 15, 2022, the Attorney General selected the Southern District of Florida’s U.S. Attorney’s Office to head one of three national COVID-19 Fraud Strike Force Teams. The Department of Justice established the Strike Force to enhance existing efforts to combat and prevent COVID-19 related financial fraud. For more information on the department’s response to the pandemic, please click here.

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:

Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at or at under case number 22-cr-20018.



Public Affairs Unit

U.S. Attorney’s Office

Southern District of Florida

Updated March 23, 2023

Disaster Fraud
Identity Theft