Two inmates charged with falsely filing for pandemic assistance

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EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania charged two individuals with fraudulently obtaining pandemic unemployment benefits.

According to the Acting United States Attorney Bruce D. Brandler, Christina Covey, 34, formerly of Drums conspired with Fredy Mendoza, 33, formerly of Hazleton who was in jail at the time, and another inmate to falsely file for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) between July and October 2020.

Covey filed the false PUA paperwork saying that Mendoza and the other inmate were laid off because of the COVID-19 pandemic, even though both were in jail on drug trafficking charges, says the acting attorney.

The trio was able to continue receiving these PUA benefits and received tens of thousands of dollars.

Covey is now in jail for drug trafficking and is also charged with lying to federal agents about the filing of the PUA paperwork.

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