Sioux City woman pleads guilty to COVID-19 unemployment fraud

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) — A Sioux City woman who stole over $24,000 in government funds using a COVID-19 unemployment scheme pled guilty on April 20 in federal court in Sioux City.

Linda Bosquez, 59, of Sioux City, was convicted of theft of government funds. In a plea agreement, Bosquez admitted that from April 30, 2020 through July 22, 2020, she stole at least $24,235 from the United States Department of the Treasury.

Bosquez falsely claimed, in her name and those of others, unemployment benefits, through the States of Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, and Ohio, including benefits related to COVID-19 relief funds to which she was not entitled.

Bosquez received a total of at least 35 ACH credits (electronic deposits) for unemployment insurance claims, 32 from Georgia, 1 from Michigan, 1 from Ohio, and 1 from Arizona. Bosquez made about 11 cash withdrawals following unemployment insurance credits, totaling over $27,000. Bosquez was receiving benefits from other states via ACH and prepaid cards in the names of other individuals, while she was also receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits.   

Sentencing for Bosquez will be before United States District Court Chief Judge Leonard T. Strand and will be set after a presentence report is prepared. Bosquez will remain free on bond pending sentencing. Bosquez faces a possible maximum sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release following any imprisonment.

The case was prosecuted by United States Attorney Ron Timmons and was investigated by the United States Department of Labor and the Office of Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. 

Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form.

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