Rhode Island man pleads guilty to unemployment fraud

U.S. District Courthouse in Providence. File photo by Steve Klamkin WPRO News

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A Rhode Island man who authorities say submitted fraudulent online applications for coronavirus pandemic related unemployment benefits in eight states while also collecting benefits in his home state has pleaded guilty to wire fraud, federal prosecutors said.

Vallah Brown 30, of Providence, collected nearly $50,000 by filing applications for Families First Coronavirus Response Act and Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act funded unemployment benefits from Massachusetts, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, California, Texas, New York, and Louisiana, according to a statement from the U.S. attorney’s office in Rhode Island.

Brown claimed on each state’s benefit application that he was a resident of that state, was unemployed, and was entitled to the benefits, prosecutors said.

Brown faces up to 20 years in prison at sentencing scheduled for April 22.