A former Kansas City resident has pleaded guilty to fraudulently claiming stimulus checks using deceased people’s identities.
The ex-resident of Kansas City entered a guilty plea for his part in a scheme that involved filing at least 28 fraudulent federal income tax returns seeking refunds and 238 bogus stimulus check claims using the identities of deceased persons.
For the one-year fraud, Lamar K. Johnson, previously of Kansas City but now residing in Eldon, Missouri, could be sentenced to 10 years in federal prison without the possibility of release.
According to a press statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, his sentence is planned on June 21 in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri.
Stimulus Check Money Fraud Busted
Johnson is said to have stolen a total of $285,600 in stimulus check money. He has since admitted to the crime and pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft in the U.S. District Court.
The stimulus payments, which were created by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, are intended to help Americans affected by the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. This type of fraud has been on the rise since the start of the pandemic, and authorities are working to crack down on those who are taking advantage of the system.
In a statement, U.S. Attorney Tim Garrison said the offense was particularly heinous, noting that Johnson knowingly stole from those who had passed away. This, Garrison said, “only added to the pain inflicted on their families by the death of a loved one.”
Johnson might be sentenced to 10 years in prison and must pay $285,600 in restitution. He will also be required to serve a three-year supervised release period after his sentence is completed.
This case serves as a reminder to all Americans to remain aware of fraud during this difficult time. It is important to be vigilant and to report any suspicious activity to the proper authorities.