I.E. Man Sentenced to Prison for Stealing $1.3M in Gov. Benefits, Including Hurricane Relief Funds: DOJ

A Rancho Cucamonga man has been sentenced to 6 1/2 years in federal prison for conspiring to defraud the government out of more than $1 million, including funds intended for hurricane victims, officials announced Wednesday.

A judge handed the 79-month sentence to Ikponmwosa Eugene Idemudia on Monday, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California. He also ordered the 40-year-old to pay $1,328,982 in restitution.

Idemudia  and his co-conspirators used stolen identities, including those of hurricane victims across the U.S., to apply for FEMA relief money, federal tax refunds, and  Social Security, federal unemployment, and Health and Human Services  benefits from 2016 to May 2018, officials said. The emergency funding they took was allocated for victims of hurricanes Irma and Harvey in 2017, according to prosecutors.

Once they obtained the benefits, Idemudia and his accomplices transferred the funds to prepaid debit cards registered under fake names and converted them into cash, authorities said.

Agents who executed a search warrant at Idemudia’s home in May 2018 reported finding $256,904 in cash and prepaid debit cards worth more than $130,000.

Multiple federal agencies investigated the case.

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