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Friends By Circumstance

Unemployment-Unemployment Insurance-7
Senior Director of Strategic Alliances
LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Circumstantial friendships are defined as “friends by circumstance, and when circumstances change, the friendship ends.” This might be due to physical or emotional circumstances, such as being colleagues or when people use the relationship to their advantage — positively or negatively — and part ways when there is no longer a need to be friends. Jason Haddox, 40, and Jonathan Henry, 32, were friends by circumstance. The circumstance being jail. However, these two aren’t parting ways any time soon.

Haddox and Henry were inmates at FCI Fort Dix in New Jersey. Starting in March of 2020, Haddox and Henry co-conspired to submit fraudulent unemployment claims in multiple states using the personal information of previous victims of identity theft. Haddox submitted fraudulent unemployment claims in Maryland, Arizona, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Louisiana, Illinois, and New York, totaling at least $292,451 in losses. And overachieving Henry submitted fraudulent claims in Maryland, Washington, D.C., Virginia, and North Carolina, totaling approximately $1.9 million in losses. Haddox and Henry used contraband cell phones and the internet to submit online applications for unemployment benefits within all the states. Was no one watching them?

The Maryland Department of Labor, which is responsible for processing applications for UI benefits in Maryland, issued prepaid debit cards in the names of the stolen identities and mailed them to addresses provided by Haddox and Henry on the applications. Family and friends brought the debit cards to Haddox and Henry who then used the prepaid debit cards to withdraw money from ATMs and to make retail purchases. Midnight madness sale at the commissary.

Haddox and Henry both pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud, and Henry also pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft, relating to the submission of fraudulent CARES Act unemployment insurance benefits.

Lucky for Haddox and Henry, they have their friendship. Both will get their sentencing in March of 2024 for committing COVID-19 unemployment fraud.

Today’s Fraud of The Day is based on article “2 federal prisoners plead guilty to $2M pandemic unemployment fraud” published by The Daily Record on December 4, 2023

Two federal prison inmates pleaded guilty to illegally filing for unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic and receiving more than $2 million in total fraudulent payments, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced.

Jason Haddox, 40, and Jonathan Henry, 32, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud late last week in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt. Henry also pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft.

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