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Pasadena Man Charged For Allegedly Buying Maserati With COVID Relief Money

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A Pasadena man is facing federal charges alleging he used stolen identities to fraudulently obtain unemployment insurance benefits, which he later used to purchase a Maserati luxury SUV.

Robert Sloan Mateer, 30, was named on Dec. 2 in a five-count indictment charging him with possession of at least 15 or more unauthorized access devices with the intent to defraud, aggravated identity theft, possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime, and being a felon in possession of ammunition.

Pasadena police officers arrested Mateer during a traffic stop on October 1 and found 17 unemployment benefits debit cards, several other credit and debit cards, approximately $197,711 in cash, more than 85 grams of methamphetamine, and a loaded firearm with no serial number inside his Maserati.

Prosecutors determined that at least 14 of the 17 debit cards were loaded with at least $133,000 in unemployment insurance benefits, later determined to have been issued under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed by Congress in March, and had been issued in the names of third-parties, including identity theft victims.

According to the affidavit, Mateer admitted to obtaining the unemployment benefits debit cards by using "thousands" of identity profiles in his possession.

He also admitted that each debit card was loaded with approximately $14,500 and that he used the fraudulently obtained unemployment benefits to purchase the Maserati automobile, the affidavit said.

Mateer also admitted that he withdrew the approximately $197,711 in cash found in his Maserati from ATMs across the Los Angeles area, the affidavit states. Mateer also allegedly withdrew approximately $13,840 from the EDD debit cards in his possession from September 19 to September 25.

Mateer was taken into federal custody on October 21 and was ordered detained pending trial.

If convicted of all charges, Mateer could face a statutory mandatory minimum sentence of 17 years and a statutory maximum sentence of life in prison.

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