With Her Death Row Son: A Woman Admits to a $145k Coronavirus Stimulus Check Fraud

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There have been numerous stimulus check scams in which hackers attempted to steal people’s personal information by using stimulus checks as bait. A fresh coronavirus stimulus check fraud occurred recently, in which a mom and her son colluded to obtain more than $145,000 in stimulus check claims. For colluding with her son to file false stimulus checks, the Modesto lady faces up to 20 years in jail. At San Quentin State Prison, Dunlap’s son is on Death Row.

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Coronavirus Stimulus Check Fraud (1)
With Her Death Row Son: A Woman Admits to a $145k Coronavirus Stimulus Check Fraud

What Is the New Coronavirus Stimulus Check Fraud?

Sheila Denise Dunlap, 51, pleaded guilty in a federal courthouse in San Francisco last week to conspiring to commit wire fraud and identity theft in connection with the submission of over $145,000 in stimulus check claims. Dunlap was accused in May of last year of participating in a wire fraud conspiracy to file fake applications for the EIP (Economic Impact Payments).

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Dunlap testified in court that she and her son obtained over 9,000 people’s personal information to claim stimulus cheques in 2020. Dunlap stated in her plea that her son emailed her the personal information of his fellow inmates. Her son, identified only by the letters D.W., also submitted the names and addresses of others he thought would be eligible for stimulus cheques as non-filers.

Dunlap testified in court that she utilized all of this information to file fraudulent claims with the IRS using the EIP Portal. Dunlap also included her bank account information in each bogus application she submitted to get stimulus cheques in her account.

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Dunlap also admitted that her son instructed her to make the bogus claims initially using the details of the children. This is because young folks, who are largely college-aged, do not fall into the income band that requires a tax return, and hence are more likely to be non-filers for stimulus money.

What Methods Did Mother And Son Use To Commit The Fraud?

Dunlap stated in her plea that she exploited the convicts’ and other people’s personal information (names and Social Security numbers) to file 121 stimulus check claims. She further said that between March 2020 and July 2020, she collaborated with her son to obtain personal information from potential applicants as well as file claims. Her son was on Death Row at San Quentin State Prison at the time, serving a life sentence.

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Dunlap stated that her son worked with another person to email her a sheet containing the personal information of 9,043 people around April 2020. Dunlap and her son allegedly interacted via phone conversations and text messages, according to public prosecutors.

She admitted to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. The former carries a potential punishment of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, whereas the latter carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison and a fine of $250,000.

Dunlap, who is still at large, will appear in front of United States District Judge Susan Illston on June 24, 2022.

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