Man sentenced in $1M pandemic fraud scheme spanning 3 states including Michigan

A Pennsylvania man was sentenced in a multi-state pandemic assistance fraud case that involved Michigan, US Attorney Dawn Ison announced Wednesday.

Adrian Fluellen, 29, was sentenced to four years and three months in prison and ordered to pay more than $900,000 in restitution for the unemployment assistance scheme during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Harrisburg man's case involved him defrauding the US Government and the states of Michigan, Pennsylvania and Maryland of about $1 million. Fluellen pleaded guilty to wire fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud in February 2024.

"Fluellen and a co-defendant conspired to, and did, defraud the federal government and the states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Maryland of roughly $1 million in funds intended to support individuals who had lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic," said the US Attorney's release.

Fluellen and a co-defendant committed their crimes through the use of interstate wires and the unauthorized possession and use of social security numbers and other means of stolen identification.

According to court records, the defendants then received hundreds of Bank of America prepaid debit cards in the names of those individuals loaded with roughly $1 million in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance funds at addresses in Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Fluellen, his co-defendant, and their accomplices then successfully unloaded more than $930,000 from the cards via cash withdrawals and purchases that included jewelry, drugs, at least one vehicle, and at least one firearm.

"Taxpayer unemployment assistance funds diverted to the pockets of criminals during the pandemic resulted in less money and fewer resources being available for those genuinely in need at that challenging time," said U.S. Attorney Dawn Ison in a release. "Along with our law enforcement partners, our office will continue to work to hold individuals who have committed and are committing such crimes of fraud, greed, and avarice responsible. "