Reston man pleads guilty to creating fraudulent COVID-19 stimulus checks

A Northern Virginia man pleaded guilty Wednesday to bank fraud and identity theft charges for creating fake COVID-19 stimulus checks and attempting fraud with financial information he obtained from stealing mail.

Jonathan Drew, 38, of Reston, was accused of stealing mail addressed to more than 150 people in Fairfax County between December 2019 and August 2020.

According to court documents, the mail contained a plethora of financial documents, including bank statements, credit cards, W-2 forms and more than $700,000 in checks, including a stimulus check.

Prosecutors say Drew used the stolen stimulus check to create forgeries up to $2,400, and used the personal information of several people to lease an apartment, open bank accounts and attempt fraudulent transactions in their name.

Drew “illegally obtained the personal identifiers and financial information of more than 150 individuals in (the Eastern District of Virginia) by stealing their mail, which he then used to conduct fraudulent transactions and create counterfeit COVID-19 stimulus checks,” Raj Parekh, acting U.S. Attorney for the district, said in a news release.

Drew faces up to 32 years in prison with a mandatory minimum of two years. He is scheduled for sentencing Aug. 25.

“We are firmly committed to holding accountable fraudsters who engage in identity theft and exploit a national economic crisis for personal gain at the expense of hardworking members of our communities,” Parekh added.

Alejandro Alvarez

Alejandro Alvarez joined WTOP as a digital reporter and editor in June 2018. He is a writer and photojournalist focusing on politics, political activism and national affairs, with recent multimedia contributions to Reuters, MSNBC and PBS.

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