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Wednesday, October 21, 2020
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McAllen
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Corpus Christi man charged with CARES Act unemployment fraud

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Texas Border Business

U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – A 28-year-old man has been charged with mail fraud after allegedly receiving nearly $100,000 in fraudulent benefits, announced U.S. Attorney Ryan K. Patrick.

William Peck is expected to make his initial appearance today at 10:15 a.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jason B. Libby.

The criminal complaint, filed July 29, alleges that Peck secured a Post Office (P.O.) box at the Portairs Station in Corpus Christi in May 2020. Within weeks, authorities noticed a large volume of Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) correspondence addressed to several different individuals, but at the same mailing address, according to the charges. The complaint further alleges claims for 85 different individuals had been submitted to TWC for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) – all listing Peck’s P.O. Box as their address on file. 

The investigation revealed several of those applications listed the same names, but had different Social Security (SS) numbers, according to the charges. Numerous applications also allegedly indicated a Texas residence. However, the investigation revealed SS numbers on many of the claims were actually  associated with persons residing outside of Texas, according to the complaint.  

TWC allegedly paid out approximately $95,000 for PUA claims listing Peck’s P.O. Box as the address for the purported claimants.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act is a federal law enacted March 29. It is designed to provide emergency financial assistance to millions of Americans who are suffering the economic effects resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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If convicted of mail fraud, Peck faces up to 20 years in federal prison and a possible $1 million maximum fine.

The Department of Labor – Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and TWC conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Andrew Swartz and Asha Natarajan are prosecuting the case.

A criminal complaint is a formal accusation of criminal conduct, not evidence. A defendant is presumed innocent unless convicted through due process of law.

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