SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – A Springfield woman has pleaded guilty for her involvement in a scheme that fraudulently received COVID-19 unemployment assistance.
According to the US Attorney’s office, 61-year-old Audri Ford-Victory of Springfield and a co-conspirator submitted more than 100 fraudulent Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claims, totaling more than $1.2 million in payments. About half the claims were made from people residing outside of Massachusetts and in some instances, Ford-Victory received kickback payments.
Ford-Victory pled guilty to one count of wire fraud conspiracy and is scheduled to be sentenced on June 1. She is facing sentencing of up to 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000.
In March 2020 Congress passed the CARES Act, which created the PUA program to help Americans receive unemployment when businesses were closed down due to the pandemic.
If you have information of someone that attempted fraud involving COVID-19, you can report it to the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud hotline at 866-720-5721.