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Southfield woman pleads guilty to stealing $300k of unemployment benefits

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(The Center Square) – A Southfield, Michigan woman pleaded guilty to wire fraud from defrauding the state of more than $300,000 in pandemic-related unemployment insurance benefits, United States Attorney Dawn N. Ison announced.

Katrina Maddox, 47, entered her guilty plea before United States District Judge Terrence G. Berg.

Court records say from April 2020 through September 2021, Maddox filed about 65 fraudulent unemployment insurance claims seeking pandemic unemployment assistance benefits.

Maddox submitted the fraudulent claims in the names of multiple individuals, using their Social Security numbers and other personal information without those individuals’ authorization or consent. The fraudulent benefits were paid out via debit cards, which Maddox used to repeatedly withdraw the funds from ATMs.

Maddox faces a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment on the charge of wire fraud. Per the terms of her plea agreement, Maddox will also be required to pay restitution in the total amount of $311,440.

Sentencing is April 25.

“This case reflects our ongoing commitment to prosecute those who took advantage of the Covid-19 pandemic by stealing funds intended for those in need,” Ison said in a statement. “My office will remain vigilant in the pursuit of those who cheat the government and their fellow citizens.”

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