Fraud suspects

A resident of Mountain House and someone from Lathrop have been arrested along with other suspected members of a large-scale unemployment insurance fraud ring centered in a San Mateo County correctional facility.

The two San Joaquin County residents who are charged with conspiracy to commit a felony to defraud the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program are Tony Covington of Mountain House and Jason Jones of Lathrop.

Covington and Jones were taken into custody Aug. 15 at their homes by law enforcement officers from San Mateo and San Joaquin counties.

Investigators have identified 21 people believed to be responsible for 16 fraudulent claims. Some of the 21 suspects arrested Aug. 15 were served arrest warrants at the San Mateo County Maguire Correctional Facility and charged with additional crimes, reported the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Department.

The fraud ring members are accused of making fraudulent unemployment claims that were filed from June 9 to July 30 using 30 different inmates’ names, resulting in more than $250,000 in fraudulent payments.

Officers, using search warrants, found $150,000 in cash in the homes of suspects arrested in three different counties. An investigation into other possible fraudulent activity is continuing.

Contact the Tracy Press at tpnews@tracypress.com or 835-3030.

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