Public Notices and Press Releases

Man Sentenced for Multi-Million Dollar Pandemic Relief Fraud

Man Sentenced to 42 Months in Prison for Fraudulently Obtaining more than $1.5 Million in Unemployment Benefits and EIDL Loans.

On March 27, 2024, Michael Blanc, a 34-year-old man from Miami, Florida, was sentenced to 42 months in prison after being found guilty of wire fraud, involving the illicit acquisition of over $1.5 million in unemployment benefits and Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL). The sentence was handed down by U.S. District Judge Michael A. Shipp in Trenton federal court, marking a notable conviction in the fight against pandemic-related fraud.

U.S. Attorney Philip R. Sellinger emphasized the severity of Blanc's crimes, highlighting the betrayal of trust in exploiting federal assistance programs intended to aid Americans during the COVID-19 crisis. 

This case underscores the ongoing commitment of federal authorities to combat pandemic fraud and hold accountable those who exploit national emergencies for personal gain.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, designed to provide emergency financial assistance during the pandemic, became a target for Blanc's fraudulent activities. 

By applying for unemployment insurance and EIDLs under false pretenses, including the use of other individuals' identities without their consent, Blanc orchestrated a scheme to mislead state workforce agencies and the Small Business Association, ultimately securing over $1.5 million unlawfully.

In addition to his prison term, Judge Shipp mandated a three-year supervised release for Blanc and ordered him to pay $1.7 million in restitution, further emphasizing the legal consequences of such fraudulent activities.

This case was brought to a successful close through the collaborative efforts of the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, the U.S. Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, the FBI's Miami Division, and the New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development, showcasing the diligent work of federal and state agencies in pursuing justice.

The prosecution, led by Senior Trial Counsel Andrew Kogan of the U.S. Attorney's Office Cybercrime Unit in Newark, serves as a stark reminder of the serious penalties associated with defrauding government programs and the relentless pursuit of justice by U.S. law enforcement in safeguarding public funds and trust.

I'm interested
I disagree with this
This is unverified