2 sentenced in Arizona in pandemic assistance fraud case
Apr 12, 2023, 4:15 AM | Updated: 7:24 am
PHOENIX — Two defendants were sentenced in Arizona after being convicted of using others identities to apply for pandemic unemployment payments, authorities announced Tuesday.
Daniel Lucero, 34, and Makallyn Hunt, 22, will each serve prison time after pleading guilty to breaking into mailboxes in Arizona and Colorado and using victims’ identities to apply for the payments and to acquire fraudulent prepaid debit cards, Arizona Attorney General Kris Mayes said in a press release.
Lucero and Hunt targeted hundreds of elderly individuals unaware their identities were being used to apply for the funding, Mayes said.
Lucero was sentenced to seven years in prison followed by probation with white collar terms.
He pleaded guilty on Feb. 24 to one count of theft and one count of aggravated taking the identity of another.
Hunt pleaded guilty on Jan. 20 to one count of theft and one count of aggravated taking the identity of another.
Hunt will serve 1.5 years in prison then probation with white collar terms.
Both were also ordered to pay $181,746 to the Arizona Department of Economic Security and $46,741 to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.
“The sentencing of Lucero and Hunt underscores my office’s commitment to protecting the interests of taxpayers and vulnerable communities,” Mayes said in the release.
“Misusing the identities of elderly individuals to fraudulently collect benefits is unacceptable.”