LAS VEGAS – A Las Vegas man pleaded guilty today to participating in a scheme to fraudulently obtain nearly $70,000 in unemployment benefits issued by the State of Massachusetts’s Employment Security Department (ESD).
Clyde Edward Austin, 64, pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud. U.S. District Judge Mahan scheduled sentencing for October 21, 2022.
From April 2020 to June 2020, Austin fraudulently submitted ESD applications for at least 11 people —without those persons’ consent. As part of the scheme, Austin and another person agreed to use Austin’s two bank accounts in Nevada to receive the fraudulent unemployment benefits. In total, the ESD transferred approximately $68,579 in benefits for the fraudulent claims.
At sentencing, Austin faces a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, a term of supervised release, and a fine.
U.S. Attorney Jason M. Frierson for the District of Nevada and Special Agent in Charge Karon Ransom for the U.S. Secret Service made the announcement.
This case was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service. Assistant U.S. Attorney Daniel R. Schiess is prosecuting the case.
On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to marshal the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across government to enhance efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud. The Task Force bolsters efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies tasked with administering relief programs to prevent fraud by, among other methods, augmenting and incorporating existing coordination mechanisms, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their schemes, and sharing and harnessing information and insights gained from prior enforcement efforts. For more information on the Department’s response to the pandemic, please visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus.
Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at: https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.