DeKalb woman pleads guilty to stealing COVID-19 relief funds

ajc.com

Credit: TNS

Credit: TNS

A Clarkston woman accepted a plea deal after concocting a scheme to use stolen identities to take people’s unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kadeidra Ra’Shawon White, 28, pleaded guilty to two felonies Wednesday, court records show. She faces a mandatory two-year prison sentence and could receive an additional decade behind bars.

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Between June and October 2020, White filed fraudulent online applications to Arizona, Ohio and Nevada using stolen identities. She obtained 15 Social Security numbers and debit cards, leading to a 15-felony indictment. Most of those charges were dropped as part of her plea deal.

With those stolen identities, White attempted to claim each person’s unemployment benefits through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The fraudulent applications claimed each person lost their job due to the pandemic, and they could have been awarded $600 per week for up to 39 weeks, federal prosecutors said. Some of the applications were granted.

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White pleaded guilty to theft of government funds and aggravated identity theft charges. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for April 26. In addition to prison time, she could be ordered to pay full restitution to her victims and up to $250,000 per charge.

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