Hampton, Iowa, woman pleads guilty to unemployment fraud related to COVID-19 | USAO-NDIA
A Hampton, Iowa woman who received unemployment benefits on behalf of others pleaded guilty on March 24, 2022 in federal court in Sioux City.
Stephanie Mendenhall, 53, of Hampton, Iowa, was found guilty of four counts of theft of public funds and one count of money laundering conspiracy. During a plea hearing, Mendenhall admitted to making false statements on behalf of others and depositing the resulting proceeds into his bank account. Mendenhall received fraudulent unemployment benefits from the states of Maine, Michigan, Washington and Illinois, including benefits related to COVID-19 relief funds, to which she was not entitled. Mendenhall received at least $35,985 in bogus unemployment benefits.
On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to mobilize Department of Justice resources in partnership with government agencies to scale up enforcement and prevention efforts. pandemic-related fraud. The task force strengthens efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies administering relief programs to prevent fraud, among other methods, by increasing and integrating coordination mechanisms existing ones, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their agendas, and sharing and leveraging information and knowledge gained from previous enforcement efforts. For more information about the Department’s response to the pandemic, please visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus.
Anyone with information about alleged attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) hotline at 866-720-5721 or via NCDF’s online complaint form at: https://www. .justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.
Sentencing before U.S. District Court Chief Judge Leonard T. Strand will be set after a pre-sentence report is prepared. Mendenhall remains free on previously set bond pending sentencing. Mendenhall faces a maximum sentence of 60 years in prison, a fine of $1,500,000 and 3 years of supervised release after any imprisonment.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Ron Timmons and Tim Vavricek and has been investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General.
Court records information at https://ecf.iand.uscourts.gov/cgi-bin/login.pl.
The file number is 21-3028.
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