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Man pleads guilty to creating fraudulent COVID relief scheme that netted $250K

The 34-year-old from Duluth is awaiting sentencing.

A Duluth man who fraudulently obtained more than $250,000 in COVID-19 relief funds has pleaded guilty to federal charges.

Jared Fiege, 34, pleaded guilty on Thursday to mail fraud, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft in connection to a scheme in which he obtained money through the Unemployment Insurance (UI) and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) programs.

He submitted fraudulent applications for UI and EIDL assistance using "stolen names, birth dates, and social security numbers of at least 20 individuals," according to the Minnesota U.S. Attorney's Office.

He also invented fictional businesses that he linked to the identities of real people without their knowledge or consent, using multiple cellphones and email addresses to impersonate others, as well as using fraudulent passports to verify identifies.

"Fiege established false bank accounts and requested bank cards to be issued by mail to other people’s addresses, which he would then steal from their mailboxes along with other mail allowing him to withdraw significant amounts of cash from those accounts," the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

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