In spring of 2022, the Labor Department testified at a congressional hearing that they estimated there could have been “at least” $163 billion in unemployment-related “overpayments,” an estimate that includes wrongly paid sums as well as benefits obtained by malicious actors. One such malicious actor could be Pedro Hernandez-Romero, who first became a fraud in order to commit a fraud.
Hernandez-Romero had already entered the United States illegally and been deported once. The second time Hernandez-Romero illegally reentered the country without authorization, he immediately stole the identity of a United States citizen and obtained the social security number. Subsequently, he filed for unemployment and COVID-19 related benefits, receiving in total $26,000 in Pennsylvania Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. Committing fraud while already being a fraud!
But this fraudster doesn’t get to stay. On June 19, 2022, Hernandez-Romero plead guilty to illegal reentry of a removed alien, social security account fraud and aggravated identity theft. Sentencing hasn’t been scheduled, but hopefully re-deportment will be on the top of the punishment list.
Great job to Homeland Security Investigations and the United States Department of Labor for bringing Hernandez-Romero trial.
Today’s “Fraud of the Day“ is based on an article posted by PAToday on July 19, 2022.
Mexican citizen pleads guilty to pandemic relief fraud in Pennsylvania
SCRANTON, Pa. (WHTM) – A Mexican citizen has pleaded guilty to illegally re-entering the country and receiving COVID-19 related benefits in Pennsylvania
Pedro Hernandez-Romero, 30, a citizen of Mexico, pleaded guilty on July 19, 2022, to illegal reentry of a removed alien, social security account fraud and aggravated identity theft.