A Tennessee woman is accused of collecting over half a million dollars in U.S. Pandemic Unemployment benefits from states across the country, authorities said.
In June 2021, the U.S. Inspector General’s Office and the Knox County State’s Attorney’s Office launched an investigation after Wall’s address was flagged for receiving unemployment benefits from several states, including California, Illinois, Maryland and Nevada, officials said.
According to police, the benefits, which were distributed over months via mailed prepaid cards, totaled $529,173 and the funds were largely withdrawn in and around Galesburg.
Investigators said they determined Wall had a “significant amount” of identity paperwork in her possession as well as government-funded debit cards and ledger data that showed she kept thorough records — evidence that allegedly detailed theft of funds that was much higher than the over $500,000 it was first believed she obtained.
Officials alleged evidence also indicates Wall may have been involved with a criminal network that could have included other individuals, possibly foreigners.
Wall was booked into the Knox County jail on a $500,000 bond.
“The Galesburg Police Department and the Knox County State's Attorney's Office acknowledge the serious negative impact identity theft and fraud have on citizens and community businesses,” Galesburg Police Chief Russ Idle said after Wall’s arrest. “We will continue to locate and apprehend those who choose to take advantage of publicly funded systems and our citizens.”