Connections keep the world moving. They help businesses to thrive. They open doors to new opportunities. And Lamar Johnson, Warren Watkins and Marissia Jackson wanted all that. There is no place that a fraudster won’t network. So, when they united to build their COVID-19 funds scheme, they really used their connections.
From a funeral parlor.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provided Economic Impact Payments to American households of up to $1,200 per adult for individuals whose income was less than $99,000. Dead people definitely make less than $99,000 a year. So, Johnson, Watkins and Jackson used connections they had with two funeral homes to steal identities. Using the identities of deceased people, Johnson, Watkins, and Jackson filed a total of 238 false and fraudulent economic impact payment claims, from March 20, 2020, through April 15, 2021. All but 12 of the identities for the false claims came from people who received services from the funeral homes. Each claim sought a $1,200 economic impact payment, for a total of $285,600.
The trio also decided to try their luck with other government agencies. Again, using the names of the deceased individuals the trio filed at least 28 false and fraudulent federal income tax returns seeking a total of $152,155 in income tax credits and refunds. Thankfully, the IRS was doing their job, and only paid only $4,800 of those claims, before they began an investigation into Johnson, Watkins and Jackson’s schemes.
On February 3, 2023, Johnson was found guilty to identity theft and Covid-19 fraud. Watkins and Jackson’s court dates are pending.
Great job by the Internal Revenue Service with this investigation and for not paying fraudulent claims!
Today’s Fraud Of The Day is based on an article “Former KC man pleads guilty for using dead people’s IDs to claim stimulus checks” published by MSN News on February 3, 2023
A former Kansas City man pleaded guilty to his role in a fraud that used the identities of dead people to file 238 false stimulus claims and at least 28 federal income tax returns seeking refunds. Lamar K. Johnson, formerly of Kansas City but now a resident of Eldon, Missouri, could face 10 years in federal prison with no chance of parole for the yearlong scam.
His sentencing in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri is scheduled for June 21, according to a release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. A grand jury indicted Johnson, Warren W. Watkins and Marissia Jackson, both of Kansas City, in 2021.