LITTLE ROCK (KATV) – The U.S. Department of Justice Attorney’s Office has announced the indictment of 10 defendants for their roles in a bank fraud conspiracy involving the theft of pandemic unemployment funds.
The indictment alleged that the defendants used unemployment debit cards to withdraw funds to which they were not entitled. These funds were made available through Coronavirus Aid, Relief and the Economic Security Act.
According to the indictment, Madison Clark, 24, worked as a contract employee with a bank who had a role in distributing unemployment debit cards for the state of California’s Employment Development Department.
Clark allegedly used her access to issue debit cards, remove fraud blocks and add credits to unemployment debit card accounts, resulting in approximately $2.7 million in losses.
The department said Khi Simms, 27, along with Clark and the other eight, recruited then used fraudulent debit cards to withdraw the funds Clark made available.
Simms was ordered to remain in federal custody Tuesday after a detention hearing was held before United States Magistrate Judge J. Thomas Ray. Three other defendants, Brelyn London, 27, Karl Harris, 26, and Deuntae Diggs, 26, are also in custody awaiting trial.
The remaining six defendants, Madison Clark, 24, of Alexander, Keshoun Coleman, 23, Derrick Harris, 19; Terence Holman, 27, Brandon Shavers, 29, and Quentin Watson, 27, have been released on bond to await trial, which is scheduled for April 18.
All 10 defendants are charged with conspiracy to commit bank fraud, which carries a maximum penalty of 30 years imprisonment, a fine of up to $1 million and not more than five years of supervised release. All 10 defendants are also charged with wire fraud, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000 and not more than five years of supervised release.