Sarasota man gets five years for wire, insurance fraud

Published: Jul. 18, 2022 at 9:30 AM EDT
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TAMPA, Fla. (WWSB) - A Sarasota man was sentenced to five years in prison for receiving COVID-related benefits and loans he was not eligible for.

Randy Xavier Jones, 34, pleaded guilty in March to charges of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.

In 2020, Jones schemed to defraud several federal and state programs by obtaining COVID-19 benefits, both loans and unemployment insurance benefits from state workforce agencies, prosecutors said.

Jones obtained a $50,000 loan in the name of a fake company. He also received fraudulent unemployment benefits, loaded on to prepaid debit cards, from state workforce agencies in Arizona, California, and Nevada, among others.

In order to retrieve the proceeds of the scheme, Jones flew to California and, over a period of several weeks, withdrew cash from the prepaid debit cards. Through both schemes, Jones and others obtained nearly a half-million dollars.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service, the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, and the U.S. Department of Labor.

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