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The Happiest Place On Earth

Senior Director of Strategic Alliances
LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Criminals targeting pandemic relief funds have stolen close to $100 billion estimated so far. The number of cases is so astronomical that the government launched COVID-19 fraud strike force groups around the country dedicated only to pandemic related fraud.  But not all cases are solved on the lock. Like the time the fraudster and the officer each go on vacation at the same location! Disney! The “happiest place in the world” Also the place fraudsters can spend stolen taxpayers’ money.

A criminal complaint filed in November of 2021 alleged that Quashon Burton, of New York City, stole identities to get nearly $150,000 in Covid-19 Paycheck Protection Program loans aimed to help struggling businesses during the pandemic. The defendant used fraudulent email accounts, fake identification documents bank accounts and bank cards in the names of four other individuals (Mickey, Donald, Pluto, and Goofy?).

Jeff Andre, an inspector with the United States Postal Inspection Service in New York City, was familiar with Burton because he signed the warrant for Burton’s arrest. Law enforcement officials had been searching for Burton since the warrant had been issued. They returned to the home twice and spoke to Burton’s mother, who told them her son would not be surrendering. She didn’t raise a quitter! For months Burton allegedly used fake identities, including during his visit to Disney World, making it difficult to track him down.

As luck would have it, on October 20, 2022, Burton and Andre happened to both be vacationing in the in the same park on the same day.  Andre recognized Burton while waiting in line at Animal Kingdom and notified Disney security immediately who had Burton arrested.

Shout out to the NYC Postal Inspection Service for pursuing this case and to Andre for not forgetting a face.

Today’s Fraud of the day is based on an article “Fugitive from New York arrested after federal inspector spots him on vacation at Walt Disney World” published by CNN on November 5, 2022

The man resembled Quashon Burton, 31, who authorities say went on the run in New York City last November after allegedly using fraudulent documents to obtain coronavirus relief aid. A criminal complaint alleged Burton stole the identities of at least four people to get nearly $150,000 in government loans aimed at struggling businesses during the pandemic.

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