Novi man uses prison inmate identities to steal $300K in pandemic unemployment payments, feds say

Terrell Mason faces 4 charges

Michigan unemployment

NOVI, Mich. – A Novi man used the identities of several prison inmates to file fraudulent pandemic unemployment claims and stole more than $300,000 in the process, federal officials said.

Terrell Dwayne Mason, 39, of Novi, is accused of using state and federal prison inmates’ identities to file claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits.

Investigators said Mason filed more than 40 fraudulent claims during the course of the scheme. He used his relationship with a Michigan unemployment employee to process the fraudulent claims through the state’s system, according to authorities.

He received more than $300,000 in the scheme and would have made more than $800,000 if he hadn’t been caught, federal officials said.

Mason is on supervised release after serving a prison sentence for conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud, authorities said. He was tracked and arrested in Oklahoma by the United States Marshals Service on allegations that he violated the terms of his release, officials said.

Mason is charged with aggravated identity theft, mail fraud, wire fraud and money laundering.

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Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.