5 Virginia residents plead guilty in unemployment fraud case

BRISTOL, Va. — More Virginia residents who prosecutors say conspired with dozens of others to file fraudulent claims for pandemic unemployment benefits have pleaded guilty.

The Bristol Herald Courier reports the five southwest Virginia residents appeared in U.S. District Court in Abingdon over the last two weeks to enter their pleas.

Federal prosecutors say they took part in a scheme that involved submitting claims on behalf of ineligible people, including prisoners.

Prosecutors say the scheme resulted in about $500,000 in false claims being paid. That’s just a tiny fraction of the over $14 billion in benefits the Virginia Employment Commission says it has distributed.

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