Reston man sentenced for creating counterfeit COVID-19 stimulus checks

A man from Reston, Virginia, was sentenced to nearly six years in prison for running a fraud scheme that involved creating counterfeit COVID-19 stimulus checks, according to officials.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia said that Jonathan Drew, 39, was sentenced to 70 months in prison for bank fraud and aggravated identity theft.

Authorities said Drew stole stimulus checks through the mail in Fairfax and Loudon counties before using them to create counterfeit checks ranging from $1,200 to $2,400.

“In addition to causing financial harm to the individuals from whom he stole checks and credit cards, the defendant’s sweeping criminal conduct also inflicted emotional harm and distress to his identity theft victims,” Raj Parekh, acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, said in a statement.

The attorney’s office said that between December 2019 and August 2020, Drew also stole bank statements, credit cards, credit card statements and W-2 forms from over 150 individuals.

He used that personal information to lease an apartment and open bank accounts, as well as conduct illegal transactions with counterfeit checks or forged checks, as well as stolen credit cards.

In total, authorities said he took more than $700,000 from victims.

Matthew Delaney

Matt Delaney is a digital web writer/editor who joined WTOP in 2020.

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