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Woman pleads guilty to pandemic-related unemployment fraud

BOSTON — A Massachusetts woman pleaded guilty Tuesday to using stolen identities to fraudulently obtain more than $250,000 in COVID-19-related unemployment benefits, federal prosecutors said.

Lilly Nguyen, 24, of Stoneham, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Boston to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney's office.

Nguyen participated in a scheme to submit fraudulent Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claims using the stolen personal information of others, prosecutors said. The investigation connected Nguyen and an alleged accomplice to more than $250,000 in unemployment claims between April 2020 and December 2020.

The federal relief program is intended to provide unemployment insurance benefits to people not eligible for other types of unemployment benefits, including the self-employed, independent contractors, and gig economy workers.

Nguyen faces 22 years in prison at sentencing scheduled for Dec. 1.

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