Former Seattle Man Will get 8 Years for Stealing $1 Million in Pandemic Benefits

SEATTLE—A former Seattle man who stole over $1 million in jobless benefits and small enterprise loans by means of the COVID-19 pandemic was sentenced on Tuesday to better than eight years in jail, Seattle U.S. Authorized skilled Nick Brown said in a press launch.

Bryan Sparks, 42, was indicted for the fraud scheme in November 2021 and pleaded accountable to wire fraud and aggravated identification theft in January. He was moreover ordered on Tuesday to pay better than $1 million in restitution.

U.S. District Determine James L. Robart generally known as Sparks on the sentencing “a serial thief and a fraudster—certainly one of many additional worthwhile ones,” and said he was appalled by the damage Sparks had carried out.

From March 2020 until on the very least January 2021, Sparks and a co-conspirator used stolen non-public data of better than 50 Washington residents and firms to make use of for Monetary Injury Disaster Loans from the Small Enterprise Administration and unemployment benefits from the Washington State Employment Security Division, courtroom paperwork said.

Sparks and his co-conspirator obtained nearly $522,000 from the Small Enterprise Administration and $520,000 from the Employment Security Division, the paperwork said.

Sparks opened fraudulent monetary establishment accounts to acquire the benefits and had unemployment revenue debit taking part in playing cards mailed to addresses in and spherical Seattle the place he could retrieve them. In all, Sparks tried to amass on the very least $1.98 million in federally funded funds.

“People equal to Mr. Sparks took advantage of most people and our authorities on the highest of a catastrophe, and I’m glad to see him held accountable,” Brown said inside the assertion. “The harm goes previous depleting authorities funds—his use of various people’s identities has damaged the victims and may proceed to set off points for them into the long run.”

The jobless benefits case is no doubt one of many largest in buck phrases stemming from Washington state paying out over $647 million in pandemic-related fraudulent claims. The state has recovered about $370 million.

Fraud was rampant in pandemic discount packages, the U.S. Labor Division’s inspector primary said remaining yr. President Joe Biden’s administration requested Congress in March to approve better than $1.6 billion to proceed prosecuting those who devoted fraud, to position into place new strategies to forestall identification theft, and to help people whose identities had been stolen.