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Twins accused of using fake IDs in $1M COVID relief fraud

Madeleine O'Neill//February 16, 2022

Twins accused of using fake IDs in $1M COVID relief fraud

By Madeleine O'Neill

//February 16, 2022

Twin brothers have been charged in federal court with illegally obtaining more than $1 million in COVID-19 relief money and unemployment benefits using fake names — including, prosecutors allege, the name “Allen Gator.”

Jerry and Jaleel Phillips, both 24, of Temple Hills face wire fraud charges, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Maryland announced Wednesday. Jerry Phillips is also charged with aggravated identity theft.

The criminal complaint alleges that IP addresses linked to the brothers were used to submit fraudulent claims for Paycheck Protection Program loans, Economic Injury Disaster loans, and unemployment benefits. The men are accused of creating fictitious aliases using identifying information from real people, and of using out-of-business or fake corporations to apply for the COVID-19 relief money.

The brothers allegedly created several financial and email accounts under aliases including “Allen Gator,” “Jamal Hopkins” and “Kenneth Williams.” The accounts were backed up using fake Maryland driver’s licenses, social securities numbers and birth dates, according to the complaint.

The complaint charges that the brothers used the relief money to buy a 2020 Camaro, furniture and home improvement items, and that they used several fake Maryland driver’s licenses to create accounts on digital currency exchange platforms, which allow users to trade cryptocurrencies.

Both men had their initial court appearances Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt. If convicted, they face maximum sentences of 20 years in prison for the wire fraud charges.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Maryland has made COVID-19 fraud prosecutions a priority in recent months.

Federal watchdogs estimate that tens of billions of dollars in federal pandemic relief money and unemployment benefits were made improperly or paid out to fraudsters.


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