Georgia couple accused of using fake companies to steal $1.5 million in unemployment benefits

·1 min read

A Georgia pair has been indicted by a federal grand jury on a long list of charges for allegedly using stolen identities and fake companies to steal state unemployment benefits.

Federal prosecutors allege that Wayne Lowe and Shanita Daniel stole more than $1,500,000 in unemployment benefit payments from the Georgia Department of Labor.

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Daniel and Lowe allegedly set up multiple fake companies.

Georgia Labor Commissioner Mark Butler says his office paid out unemployment for the fake companies because the employees were real employees with real social security numbers, all from stolen identities.

“This was a very sophisticated attack,” Butler said.

The sham companies even correctly filed their quarterly taxes.

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You’re taking advantage of money meant to help the public, and you’re abusing that. To me, that’s one of the lowest forms of criminal activity out there,” Butler told Channel 2 Consumer Investigator Justin Gray.

According to the indictment, the “conspirators fraudulently provided to GaDOL the names of company employees using the names and Social Security numbers of persons who had no knowledge of the scheme.”

In addition to filing fraudulent claims for benefits in Georgia, Daniel and Lowe allegedly used some of the same stolen identities to submit fraudulent claims for benefits in California.

“The defendants share one trait in common — greed,” said Special Agent in Charge James E. Dorsey, IRS Criminal Investigation, Atlanta Field Office. “Their desire for money, power and material items, drove them to perpetrate crimes against our unemployment insurance system and prey upon many individuals within our community,” he continued in the statement.

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