NJ Man Charged in $1.2 Million Covid Unemployment Scheme
According to an article by Jeff Goldman of NJ.com, 39-year-old Omar Thompson of Paterson, NJ has been charged with one count of wire fraud late last month for his role in a COVID-19 unemployment scheme against the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program featuring over 100 fraudulent claims totaling approximately $1.2 million.
Goldman writes, “Thompson and a female accomplice not named by prosecutors abused the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program between April and June 2020, charging documents state. On some occasions, they recruited people from other states to apply for the benefits in Massachusetts, submitted claims on behalf of those non-Massachusetts residents and then received kickback payments, officials said.”
Court documents indicate that approximately 50 of the fraudulent claims totaling about $338,000 in PUA funds were filed under individuals outside of the state of Massachusetts, according to driver’s licenses and mailings addresses.
Goldman stated, “In an example cited in charging documents, the co-conspirator submitted a May 12, 2020 claim in Thompson’s name that paid out more than $19,000. He isn’t entitled to receive money because he neither live nor worked in Massachusetts.”
Thompson was arrested in late August 2021, made his first appearance in federal court in New Jersey and was later released, and his next court date will take place in Boston, MA.