Duluth Man Pleads Guilty to COVID Fraud
DULUTH, Minn. – The United States Attorney’s Office says a Duluth man pleaded guilty on Wednesday to “mail fraud, wire fraud, and aggravated identity theft in connection to a COVID-19 relief fraud scheme.”
According to reports, between the months of April and August, 2020 34-year-old Jared John Fiege admitted to stealing the names, birth dates, and social security numbers of at least 20 people to fraudulently submit applications for Unemployment Insurance and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program to obtain over $250,000 in COVID-19 relief money.
Fiege also created fictional businesses which he linked to real people’s identities without their knowledge.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office says he made multiple cell phones and created email addresses which he used to impersonate others.
He also established false bank accounts and requested bank cards to be issued by mail which he would then steal from people’s mailboxes along with other mail so he could withdraw large sums of money from those accounts.
The United States Postal Inspection Service, the Small Business Administration Office of the Inspector General, the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, and the Duluth Police Department also assisted in the investigation.
The Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force in May 2021, to utilize the Department of Justice along with other agencies across the government to help combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud.