FRESNO, Calif. — Cecilia Aquino, 34, of Fresno, pleaded responsible right this moment to submitting fraudulent unemployment insurance coverage claims in at the least seven states and submitting fraudulent purposes for Small Enterprise Administration (SBA) Financial Harm Catastrophe Loans utilizing stolen identities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. Lawyer Phillip A. Talbert introduced.
In response to court docket paperwork, between June 2020 and November 2020, Aquino submitted unemployment insurance coverage claims and SBA mortgage purposes that contained a number of misrepresentations, together with that the named people final labored as self-employed dancers, owned inside design companies, and that they misplaced their jobs and enterprise revenues due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The state companies that administer the unemployment insurance coverage system, the SBA, and the USA suffered an precise lack of $220,000 and have been topic to a possible lack of greater than $300,000 due to Aquino’s fraud. Aquino used the cash for playing, hire, purchasing, and different private expenditures.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the SBA Workplace of Inspector Normal, and the Division of Labor Workplace of Inspector Normal. Assistant U.S. Lawyer Joseph Barton is prosecuting the case.
Aquino is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Decide Jennifer L. Thurston on Feb. 21, 2023. Aquino faces a most statutory penalty of 20 years in jail and high-quality of as much as $250,000 for the unemployment insurance coverage and SBA mortgage fraud, and a compulsory two-year consecutive sentence for the identification theft. The precise sentence, nevertheless, can be decided on the discretion of the court docket after consideration of any relevant statutory components and the Federal Sentencing Pointers, which keep in mind various variables.
This effort is a part of a California COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Strike Pressure operation, one in every of three interagency COVID-19 fraud strike power groups established by the U.S. Division of Justice. The California Strike Pressure combines regulation enforcement and prosecutorial sources within the Jap and Central Districts of California and focuses on large-scale, multistate pandemic reduction fraud perpetrated by felony organizations and transnational actors. The strike forces use prosecutor-led and knowledge analyst-driven groups to establish and produce to justice those that stole pandemic reduction funds.