Michigan man sentenced to prison for scamming Unemployment Insurance Agency out of more than $726K

Byron Williams obtained identities of 114 people

(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

BROWNSTOWN TOWNSHIP, Mich. – A Brownstown Township man was sentenced Friday to five years in prison after scamming the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency out of more than $726,000.

Byron Williams, 50, pleaded guilty in June for his leadership role in a sophisticated scheme utilizing five fictitious companies and more than 114 identities to defraud the agency.

Court records showed that Williams obtained personal identification information of 114 people from 2012-16. He used the information to submit fraudulent claims for unemployment compensation benefits.

Some of the identities were from people who participated in the scheme, and they received a portion of the benefits from the fraudulent claims. Many of the identities were stolen.

"Individuals who defraud the Federal-State Unemployment Insurance Program divert limited public funds meant for those legitimately in need of temporary economic support”, said David P. Gelios, special agent in charge, Detroit Division of the FBI. “Today, Mr. Williams was held to account for his fraud scheme, which could have undermined the solvency of this important safety net for the unemployed.”

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