They submitted approximately 200 unemployment claims to California’s Employment Development Department (EDD) using a single address on 75th Avenue in Hyattsville, and the department approved 97 of the claims, according to a complaint filed by John C. Collins, a special agent with the United States Department of Labor.
Mr. Collins said that the FBI, the Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General, and state law enforcement agencies investigated the network together.
“Given the size of the apartment, the research determined that the large volume of UI applications connected with this location is excessive and therefore indicative of fraudulent conduct.
According to Mr. Collins’ lawsuit filed in California, 142 UI claim accounts using the 75th Avenue apartment address issued a total of 175 prepaid cards in the states of Arizona, California, Maryland, and North Carolina.
According to court documents, there were several efforts to get fraudulent unemployment insurance using the same address in Hawaii, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Texas, Washington, and West Virginia.
The suspects claimed job losses as an accountant, dance therapist, computer consultant, librarian, or in other professions, and utilized untraceable IP addresses, according to the lawsuit.
Federal officials said that they saw foreign fraudsters and con artists taking advantage of the large number of COVID-19 checks being distributed to help Americans cope with the epidemic.
It was unclear if the suspects had contacted their attorneys.
The arrest was the latest in a growing number of arrests made by US FBI officials in connection with fake jobless claims and other fraudulent operations involving Nigerians.
In May, the FBI arrested Bidemi Rufai, an appointee of Ogun State Governor Dapo Abiodun, when she attempted to travel to Nigeria from New York. He was then remanded to jail.
In July of last year, Ramon Abbas, alias Hushpuppi, was arrested in Dubai and extradited to the United States to face charges related to years of Internet fraud targeting Americans. Additionally, he has remained in jail.
Obinwanne Okeke of Invictus Group and Allen Onyema of Air Peace Limited were indicted in 2019 on multimillion-dollar fraud allegations.
Mr. Okeke has already been convicted and sentenced to jail, while Mr. Onyema’s case is still ongoing in an Atlanta federal court.