DETROIT – A Detroit man pleaded guilty to stealing unemployment benefits from nine different states, and he tried and failed to do so in eight others, federal officials said.
Jordan Armstrong, 29, of Detroit, pleaded guilty Wednesday (Nov. 10) to wire fraud and identity theft in the scheme. Authorities said he defrauded nine states out of more than $1.6 million.
Between May 4, 2020, and Oct. 21, 2020, Armstrong submitted applications for unemployment insurance benefits on behalf of people in Michigan, California, Texas, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Massachusetts, New York and Louisiana, according to officials.
He tried to submit claims in eight other states, but those were unsuccessful, officials said.
In total, Armstrong is accused of filing more than 300 claims across 17 states and territories. He would submit the claims using social security numbers without permission, officials said.
Armstrong directed the benefits to be paid out via debit cards, and he would use those cards to withdraw funds through ATMs around Metro Detroit, according to authorities.
He is required to pay $1,611,202 restitution as part of the plea agreement.
Armstrong faces a maximum of 20 years in prison on the wire fraud charge and two years in prison on the identity theft charge.
Sentencing is scheduled for March 22, 2022.