Maryland man sentenced for unemployment insurance, COVID benefit fraud

A Maryland man has been sentenced to nearly eight years in federal prison for COVID-19, unemployment, insurance and aggravated identity theft schemes.

Forty-year-old Idowu Raji, of Baltimore County, pleaded guilty earlier this year on charges of committing access device fraud and aggravated identity theft for conspiring to obtain more than $900,000 in unemployment insurance and other COVID-19 related benefits.

Raji also took part in a scheme to defraud multiple businesses and obtain more than $750,000, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a news release Friday.

In what federal prosecutors called an access device conspiracy, Raji admitted arranging the delivery of fake unemployment insurance cards to co-conspirators along with instructions on how to use them. In his guilty plea, Raji said he used the identities of more than 50 people, costing the state and federal government over $900,000 in losses.

Federal agents took Raji into custody in November 2020. His guilty plea includes an admission of having made false statements to investigators by denying involvement in wire fraud and unemployment insurance fraud schemes.

This spring, Raji’s co-conspirators — Adewumi Abioye, age 35, of Randallstown, Maryland, and Lukman Salam, age 37, of Delaware — were sentenced to over two years in prison each on wire fraud charges. Four other co-defendants are due for sentencing later this year.

Alejandro Alvarez

Alejandro Alvarez joined WTOP as a digital journalist and editor in June 2018. He is a reporter and photographer focusing on politics, political activism and international affairs.

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