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Illinois Man Charged with Stealing Unemployment Insurance Benefits While Incarcerated

By rlsmetro on
Fort Dix

An Illinois man was arrested today for allegedly using other individuals’ personal identification information to obtain unemployment insurance benefits while incarcerated, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.

According to Acting U.S. Attorney Honig, Devontae Stokes, 27, of Country Club Hills, Illinois, is charged by complaint with conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

On March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) was signed into law. 

The CARES Act created a new, temporary federal unemployment insurance program called Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), which provided unemployment insurance benefits (UIB) for individuals who were not eligible for other types of unemployment (e.g., the self-employed, independent contractors, gig economy workers). 

The CARES Act also created a new temporary federal program called Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (FPUC) that provided an additional weekly benefit to those eligible for PUA and regular UIBs.

Between August 2020 and November 2020, Stokes was incarcerated at FCI Fort Dix, a federal correctional institution with an adjacent satellite camp located in Fort Dix, New Jersey. 

While incarcerated, Stokes and his associates caused UIB applications to be made to numerous states in the names of three victims. In response, the states provided more than $70,000 in UIB.