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Detroit Man Sentenced For Stealing $1.6 Million In Unemployment Benefits From 9 States

(CBS DETROIT) -- A Detroit man who pleaded guilty to stealing more than $1.6 million in unemployment insurance benefits is sentenced to three years and three months in federal prison.

Jordan Armstrong, 29, was sentenced Wednesday on wire fraud and identity theft charges after federal officials say he stole money from nine states. Armstrong pleaded guilty to those charges in November.

"Today's sentence is another example of our ongoing efforts to investigate and prosecute the unprecedented theft of unemployment insurance benefits that occurred during the pandemic," said U.S. Attorney Dawn Ison. "These expanded unemployment insurance benefits were intended as a lifeline for those needing help during a time of great stress and uncertainty. We will continue to hold the individuals who stole those monies accountable."

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Armstrong submitted fraudulent applications for benefits in other people's names in Michigan, California, Texas, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Massachusetts, New York and Louisiana. He attempted the same scheme in eight other states, totaling in more than 300 claims across 17 states and territories beginning May 2020 through October 2020.

Federal officials say he used social security numbers and other personal information, directing the benefits to be paid out via debit cards and then using the cards to withdraw money from ATMs throughout Metro Detroit.

Armstrong is ordered to pay $1,611,202 in restitution to the impacted state.

"Mr. Armstrong's scheme exploited programs designed to support small businesses and unemployed Americans and diverted money away from those who were in need during the pandemic," said Josh Hauxhurst, acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Detroit Division. "Thanks to the hard work of all the agencies involved in this investigation, Mr. Armstrong has been held to account for his criminal actions."

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