A South Carolina woman and a Florida woman have been sentenced after pleading guilty to commit wire fraud related to unemployment insurance benefits.
Nariman Mahmoud Masoud, 35, of Florence, and Susan Masoud, 34 of Tampa, Fla., were sentenced recently in federal court, according to a news release.
Masoud must serve 12 months and one day in the Bureau of Prisons followed by a two-year term of court ordered supervision. There is no parole in the federal system. She almost must pay $604,074 in restitution. Susan Masoud was sentenced to 24 months of probation and ordered to pay $454,074 in restitution, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. U.S. District Judge Joseph Dawson III imposed the sentences.
Evidence presented in court showed that both women took part in a scheme with others to fraudulently obtain unemployment insurance benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the release. As part of the scheme, members of the conspiracy submitted applications in four states – Arizona, New York, Florida and South Carolina – using the personal identifying information of other people, sometime without the person’s permission.
In some instances, members of the conspiracy would apply for benefits in multiple states using the same person’s information, the release said. They would then receive the funds associated with the fraudulent claims, primarily either direct deposit or debit cards. The investigation revealed a total of 69 fraudulent associated with the scheme, resulting in a total loss of $454,074 in unemployment insurance funds.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Department of Labor, the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, the New York State Department of Labor, the Arizona Department of Economic Security, and the Small Business Administration. Assistant U.S. Attorney Lauren Hummel is prosecuting the case.