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Vegas man accused of unemployment benefits fraud, ID theft

August 3, 2020 GMT

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A Las Vegas man has been charged with identity theft and fraud-related charges after investigators said he possessed nearly two dozen unemployment benefits cards in other people’s names, federal officials said Monday.

Vincent Okoye, 38, also had dozens of other debit and credit cards issued in other people’s names and was arrested last Friday, according to an announcement from the U.S. Attorney in Nevada, Nicholas Trutanich.

Okoye was charged in federal court with one count of possession of a counterfeit and unauthorized access device and one count of aggravated identity theft. He has not yet made an initial court appearance or had a hearing scheduled in the case.

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Okoye does not yet have an attorney who could comment on his before, according to court records. He also does not have a publicly listed phone number where someone could be reached to comment on his behalf.

Investigators found in Okoye’s home more than 100 credit and debit cards not issued in his name, prosecutors said. The discovery included 11 unemployment benefits debit cards issued by Nevada’s Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation and 12 unemployment benefits debit cards from Arizona’s Department of Economic Security.

They also found more than $100,000 in cash and money orders, mail with various names and addresses, postal mailbox master keys and a forged Canadian passport, according to court documents.

Trutanich said in a statement that fraud in Nevada’s unemployment benefits system is widespread.

“This case is likely just the proverbial ‘tip of the iceberg’: We will track down and prosecute scammers who fraudulently obtain federal unemployment benefits,” Trutanich said.

Investigators said in court documents that they found the material in Okoye’s home while searching it under a warrant for an unrelated fraud case involving bank accounts tied to email phishing schemes.