Third Stimulus Check: CA Mom, Son Accused Of Scheming To Steal $145K In Stimulus Checks
SAN FRANCISCO, CA — A California woman was accused of filing 121 fraudulent stimulus check claims totaling $145,200 using personal information obtained by her son, a prison inmate at San Quentin State Prison, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Francisco.
Modesto resident Sheila Dunlap, 50, was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. Dunlap, who was arraigned in San Francisco on Thursday, could face a maximum sentence of 22 year s in prison and additional fines up to $500,000.
Dunlap reportedly conspired with her son, who was not named, to obtain the personal information of others and used that to apply for Economic Impact Payment funds, according to the indictment. Dunlap and her son collaborated on the scheme over the phone and through text messages, prosecutors said.
The Modesto resident reportedly used the information of 9,043 people to submit 121 stimulus check claims between March and July of 2020, with all payments directed to her bank account.
Her son collected personal information and sent it to an unknown third party to email his mother a spreadsheet of the 9,043 people. The pair also devised a plan to file the first applications using the stolen identities of the youngest adults on the list. This was because “they were more likely to be tax non-filers and thereby qualify for the stimulus funds,” officials said.
On May 28, 2020, five $1,200 stimulus checks were electronically transferred to Dunlap’s personal bank account. She withdrew the funds immediately and used it all for personal expenses, officials said.
Dunlap is out of custody on bond and was expected to arrive in court on Thursday for a hearing about release conditions before Magistrate Judge Hixson and a status hearing on May 28, 2021, at 11 a.m. before United States District Judge Susan Illston.
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