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Man pleads guilty in nearly $1M unemployment fraud scheme

A previously-deported English national is facing up to five years in federal prison for bilking nearly $700,000 from Nevada and California residents using fraudulent unemployment insurance cards, the Justice Department announced Thursday.

Alan Ray, 33, pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of conspiracy to possess counterfeit and authorized access devices, which he tried to ship to his home in Houston from Wynn Las Vegas a year ago, according to a statement from the department.

In total, Ray and unidentified co-conspirators had nearly $1 million fraudulently approved from unemployment benefits, withdrawing at least $698,655 of it.

The probe began Oct. 27, 2020, after Ray tried to ship a laptop, a ledger with dozens of names and social security numbers, and a couple dozen unemployment benefits debit cards issued to unsuspected victims, the complaint said.

The shipping agreement allowed staff at the resort to look in the package, which they did, subsequently contacting the FBI.

Las Vegas police arrested Ray on Nov. 9, after he was told to travel back to Las Vegas to pick up the package at the hotel, telling him that it had a leaking computer battery, the complaint said.

Ray presented fraudulent identification cards but was later identified by immigration authorities, who’d deported Ray a decade ago for overstaying his visa, the complaint said.

Ray and his co-conspirator had unemployment claims for an additional $215,121 filed from March to November last year denied, the complaint said.

At his sentencing hearing scheduled for Feb. 4 in Las Vegas, Ray also faces a $250,000 fine, officials said.

Contact Ricardo Torres-Cortez at rtorres@reviewjournal.com. Follow @rickytwrites on Twitter.