Welcome to the
Fraud of the Day Website!

Close this search box.

For Better or For Worse, but Mostly Worse

For Better or For Worse, but Mostly Worse

Unemployment-Unemployment Insurance-10
Senior Director of Strategic Alliances
LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Farren Ricketts, 30, of Lee County, Va., pleaded guilty to mail fraud and aggravated identity theft for carrying out a pandemic-related unemployment fraud scheme.

According to court documents, Ricketts conspired with others to file claims for pandemic-related unemployment benefits. Apparently, Ricketts filed claims for individuals who were ineligible to receive the pandemic relief benefits, including her husband. (She was really testing her husband’s commitment to the “for better or for worse” vow.)

The Virginia woman also unrightfully filed claims on behalf of prison inmates. (Prisoners are unemployed due to being convicted of committing a crime, not because they have lost their job due to no fault of their own.)

Ricketts illegally obtained the prison inmates’ personally identifiable information and submitted unemployment claims on their behalf without their knowledge or consent. (Since she has the personal information of many inmates, perhaps she will know who to befriend when she joins them in prison.)

Ricketts got creative and conjured up a fictitious business entity, Ricketts Advisory, LLC to back up her scheme. She advertised her business as a financial services company that aimed to assist those filing for pandemic unemployment benefits. (That was very clever of her to do.)

Between May 2020 and February 2021, Ricketts attempted to defraud the government of more than $699,124 through filing over 100 fictitious claims. (Her time would have been better spent actually starting a legitimate business.) To better support her claims, these files included fake documents, like IRS forms that shared fictitious pre-pandemic earnings.

Ricketts pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud, one count of aggravated identity theft, and one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States. Sentencing is scheduled for October 29, 2021.

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from a Department of Justice press release, “Lee County Woman Pleads Guilty to Nearly $700,000 Unemployment Fraud Scheme,” published on June 15, 2021.

ABINGDON, Va. – A Lee County woman pleaded guilty today to conspiring to defraud the government of more than $699,124 in pandemic-related unemployment funds, mail fraud, and aggravated identity theft.

According to court documents, Farren Ricketts, 30, and others conspired to file fraudulent claims for pandemic unemployment benefits through the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) website. The scheme involved Ricketts filing claims for various individuals, including her husband and others known to be ineligible to receive pandemic employment benefits.

Related Articles

Get Your Fraud Fix!

Five days a week wake up to the most current fraud article in your inbox

Contact Us

Thank you for your interest in Fraud of the Day. For more information, please complete the following form.
To receive the most current fraud articles direct to your inbox, click the Subscribe button above.

"*" indicates required fields

Would you like to subscribe to our Blog?
We respect your privacy.
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


Fill out the form below to receive the Daily Fraud Highlight, the Weekly Fraud Summary or both. Thank you for your interest in FraudoftheDay.com.

"*" indicates required fields

Subscription Type*
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.