2 men accused of unemployment payment pandemic fraud scheme

August 12, 2021 GMT

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — Two New Hampshire men have been charged with participating in schemes to defraud government programs that provide economic assistance related to the coronavirus pandemic.

The men laid off employees from two companies that they controlled, according to a federal indictment. However, they directed the workers to continue working for the companies while collecting unemployment insurance payments from the New Hampshire Employment Security agency.

The payments included the additional $600 emergency weekly benefits provided for by the federal CARES Act, the indictment said.

The indictment also alleges that one of the men, who also is charged with aggravated identity theft, applied for an Economic Injury Disasters Loan funded through the U.S. Small Business Administration, and a Paycheck Protection Program loan. He allegedly provided false information on the loan applications and improperly using personal identifying information of one of the company’s employees to obtain the funds.

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Both men were arrested Wednesday and were released pending their trial, which is scheduled for Oct 5.

Messages to their lawyers seeking comment were left Thursday.

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THE NUMBERS

More than 102,000 people have tested positive for the virus in New Hampshire, including 160 cases announced Wednesday. Two new deaths were announced, bringing the total to 1,393.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in New Hampshire has risen over the past two weeks from 56 new cases per day on July 27 to 154 new cases per day on Tuesday.