Detroit Man Arrested For Scamming $4M In Unemployment Benefits

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A Detroit area man was arrested by federal agents after allegedly being the ring leader of an unemployment scheme that stretched across multiple states.

Jermaine "Maine" Arnett was charged Wednesday (November 3) after authorities say he and a few associates scammed $4 million in unemployment benefits in Michigan, Arizona, and Maryland. The Detroit News reported the operation used only a "handful" of IP addresses and just three Pontiac, Michigan mailing addresses in the scheme.

Arnett and others were caught on bank ATM cameras withdrawing large sums of cash after claiming unemployment using fake names. One of the names used by Arnett at the ATM, police say, was "Alexus Applegate."

In total, authorities believe Arnett and his associates made a total of 500 fraud pandemic unemployment claims. A bank contacted federal authorities after it suspected 503 prepaid debit cards were charging and withdrawing millions of dollars.

According to the news outlet, Arnett's indictment brings the Michigan unemployment fraud arrest to over 36. State officials said that "hundreds of millions" of dollars were lost by fraudulent claims after conducting an audit of the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency. The agency also admitted that they pushed through suspicious claims in an effort to keep the paperwork flowing at the height of the pandemic.

In terms of Arnett, he faces multiple charges, including aggravated identity theft, mail, wire, and bank fraud; fraud using a false name and address, and money laundering.

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