A man has admitted to stealing the identities of people in 38 states - including Connecticut - to obtain unemployment insurance benefits.
Illinois resident has pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud, and is facing up to two years in prison, for fraudulently filing claims with the Connecticut Department of Labor for unemployment benefits in the names of identity theft victims, using their names, dates of birth and social security numbers.
Those funds were then diverted to Green Dot debit cards that he opened in the names of other victims of his theft.
According to John Durham, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of Connecticut, Lach would then withdraw the funds or otherwise spend the money for his own personal uses. Lach also admitted to doing similar things in 37 other states.
Lach admitted that he purchased the personal information of identity theft victims through online websites, including a website that sold the information for one dollar, in bitcoins, per identity. Lach shared his account on that website and shared his Green Dot cards, and several email accounts he used, with others so that they also could file fraudulent claims for unemployment benefits.
In total, Lach admitted to purchasing the identity information of 845 victims, through his account on the website that sold the information. Between February 2017 and January of this year, Lach and others filed approximately 380 fraudulent claims for unemployment benefits in the names of identity theft victims.
Durham said that if the state agencies had approved and paid benefits on all 380 claims, the total loss from the scheme would have exceeded $3.8 million. However, the state agencies approved and paid benefits on only 42 of the claims, resulting in an actual loss of $54,006.
Lach also admitted to fraudulently purchasing cars and obtained two car loans in the names of two of his victims, totaling more than $100,000. Lach provided copies of a fake driver’s license and utility bill in the name of his victims.
Following his arrest on Feb. 2, Lach has been detained. He due in court for sentencing on Nov. 27.
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