An Essex County, New Jersey, man today admitted that he conspired to fraudulently obtain more than $700,000 through a variety of schemes intended to fleece the federal government and innocent individuals.
Jefferson Robert, 31, of Newark, pleaded guilty by videoconference before U.S. District Judge Julien X. Neals to an information charging him with conspiring to commit wire fraud.
According to U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig, Robert opened bank accounts with a fraudulent passport in another individual’s name.
He and his conspirators then caused an application for benefits in the name of Victim 1 to be made to Employment Security Department (ESD), which administers and manages the regular unemployment insurance and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) programs in the State of Washington.
In response, the agency caused unemployment insurance payments to be deposited into one of the fraudulent bank accounts.
Robert and his conspirators also partook in business email scams, including causing a victim to transfer approximately $28,000 into one of the bank accounts.
They allegedly engaged in romance scams, including causing one victim to make five deposits into one of the bank accounts totaling approximately $19,000.
They also fraudulently obtained money from the IRS by causing the IRS to transfer payments in four victims’ names into one of the bank accounts, according to federal prosecutors.
Once the fraudulently obtained money was in the bank accounts, Roberts moved the money, including through the purchase of money orders. Robert and his conspirators caused more than $700,000 in losses.
The charge of conspiring to commit wire fraud is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of the greater of $250,000, twice the gross profits to Robert or twice the gross loss suffered by the victims, whichever is greatest. Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 15, 2022.