Pennsylvania man sentenced for defrauding $1M from multi-state scheme


(The Center Square) – A Pennsylvania man was sentenced Wednesday for defrauding multiple states and the federal government for pandemic insurance fraud in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Maryland.

Adrian Fluellen, 29, was sentenced to 51 months in prison and ordered to pay more than $900,000 in restitution in the sentence handed down by United States District Judge Matthew F. Leitman.

Court records say Fluellen and a co-defendant defrauded the federal government, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Maryland of roughly $1 million in funds intended to help individuals who had lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The pair committed their crimes through the use of interstate wires and obtaining unauthorized social security numbers and other means of identification belonging to other individuals.

U.S. Attorney Dawn Ison welcomed the sentencing.

“Taxpayer unemployment assistance funds diverted to the pockets of criminals during the pandemic resulted in less money and fewer resources being available for those genuinely in need at that challenging time,” Ison said in a statement. “Along with our law enforcement partners, our office will continue to work to hold individuals who have committed and are committing such crimes of fraud, greed, and avarice responsible. “

Fluellen pleaded guilty to wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud in February.

Fluellen and his co-defendant used stolen personal identification to file hundreds of false unemployment claims with state unemployment insurance agencies in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Maryland in the names of other individuals without their knowledge or consent.

The defendants received hundreds of Bank of America prepaid debit cards in the names of those individuals loaded with roughly $1 million in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance funds at addresses in Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Fluellen, his co-defendant, and their accomplices then successfully unloaded more than $930,000 from the cards via cash withdrawals and purchases that included jewelry, drugs, at least one vehicle, and at least one firearm.

“Pandemic Unemployment assistance granted by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was meant to be a lifeline for those affected the most by the global covid-19 pandemic, not as an unlimited well of funds for Adrian Fluellen,” Special Agent in Charge Charles Miller, Detroit Field Office, IRS Criminal Investigation, said in a statement.