On October 20, 2021, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) announced that former NFL player, Kenbrell Thompkins, pled guilty to fraud, including COVID-19 relief-related fraud.
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law in March of 2020. The CARES Act, through several programs and allowances, provides relief to businesses and individuals hurt by the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, the CARES Act expands states’ ability to provide unemployment insurance for qualified workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, including workers who are not ordinarily eligible for unemployment benefits.
According to the DOJ’s press release, Mr. Thompkins used the social security numbers and other protected personal information of unsuspecting Florida residents. The information was used to obtain prepaid debit cards from California loaded with funds from California’s unemployment insurance, which included CARES Act funds. Mr. Thompkins then withdrew funds from various ATMs in Miami-Dade County. And according to an Associated Press report, the overall scheme involved approximately $300,000 in California unemployment insurance funds, though only $230,000 was withdrawn. Mr. Thompkins plead guilty to one count of unauthorized access device fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft and faces up to 12 years in prison. He is scheduled to be sentenced in January 2022.
Mr. Thompkins’ guilty plea comes weeks after other NFL players pled guilty to health care fraud. In September 2021, the DOJ announced that several former NFL players pled guilty to defrauding a health care program set up by the NFL to benefit former players. You can read the Chilivis Grubman discussion regarding the former NFL players’ fraud here.
The attorneys at Chilivis Grubman represent clients of all types and sizes in connection with white-collar criminal investigations and health care fraud investigations. If you need assistance with such a matter, please contact us today.