LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Three people were charged in connection with COVID-19 unemployment insurance benefits fraud, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Thursday.
Luigi J. Montes, 41, of Texas; Alexander Hoyos Rivera, 24, of Ohio; and Peter Alexander Stincer, 33 of California, are each charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and three counts of aggravated identity theft.
From about March 1, 2020, to Jan. 6, 2021, Montes, Rivera, and Stincer falsely applied for unemployment insurance benefits with the Nevada Department of Employment, Training, and Rehabilitation (DETR) and the California Employment Development Department (EDD) by using stolen personal identifying information, prosecutors said.
The debit cards were sent to mailing addresses to which the defendants had access.
The trio allegedly withdrew the funds at various ATMs located in several states, including Nevada, California, and Texas.
In total, the fraud scheme involved more than $930,000 in benefits and implicated $1.1 million in actual and potential benefits.
Montes, Rivera, and Stincer each appeared before a judge Thursday.
If convicted, they face up to 26 years in prison.