Woman Gets 10 Years In COVID Unemployment Fraud

From the Justice Department:

A Jonesville, Virginia woman, who admitted to heading a conspiracy that defrauded the government of more than $1.5 million in pandemic-related unemployment benefits, was sentenced today to 10 years in federal prison and ordered to pay restitution.

Farren Gaddis Ricketts, 31, and her co-conspirators concocted a scheme to gather personal identification information and then submit unemployment claims to the Virginia Employment Commission (VEC)] website for individuals who were known to be ineligible to receive pandemic unemployment benefits, including various inmates in Virginia Department of Corrections facilities.

According to court documents, Ricketts developed a business entity called “Ricketts Advisory, LLC,” registered it with the Virginia State Corporation Commission, and advertised as a financial services company that helped with filing pandemic unemployment claims.

In addition to receiving unemployment benefits herself, Ricketts charged fees to over 120 of her co-conspirator “clients” for the service of filing their fraudulent claims.