Atlanta Man Sentenced for COVID-19 Unemployment Benefits Fraud

Atlanta Man Sentenced for COVID-19 Unemployment Benefits Fraud

Atlanta, GA – Jeremy Graves, a 39-year-old resident of Atlanta, Georgia, has been sentenced to three years and eleven months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, for theft of government funds and aggravated identity theft related to fraudulent unemployment insurance (UI) claims during the COVID-19 pandemic. U.S. District Judge Sarah E. Geraghty presided over the case.

Graves pleaded guilty on August 23, 2023, after being charged with filing approximately 39 fraudulent UI applications using 37 stolen identities in states including Georgia, Arizona, California, Maryland, and Nevada. The scheme, executed between July 2020 and October 2020, led to Graves fraudulently obtaining over $200,000 in UI benefits from Georgia and California.

The investigation, conducted by the Department of Labor – Office of Inspector General, revealed that Graves directed payment of benefits to designated debit cards, concealing his identity by having the cards sent to various addresses near his residence in Atlanta. The scheme came to light when the Department of Labor identified multiple applications filed from Graves’s residence.

In addition to the prison sentence, Graves has been ordered to pay $209,214 in restitution, with $193,179 allocated to the Georgia Department of Labor and $16,035 to the California Employment Development Department.

This case is part of the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force, established by the Attorney General on May 17, 2021, to combat pandemic-related fraud.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Diane C. Schulman prosecuted the case. Individuals with information about COVID-19-related fraud can report it to the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form: NCDF Web Complaint Form.