A 38-year-old Orlando man who stole victims’ identities through the dark web in order to file fake unemployment claims has been sentenced to spend the next three and a half years in prison.
On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Carlos E. Mendoza sentenced Okechukwu Iwuji to three years and six months in federal prison for mail fraud and aggravated identity theft. Iwuji pled guilty to the charges on April 19, 2023. As part of his sentence, Iwuji must pay $55,149 in restitution, which represents the loss amount.
According to court records, Iwuji acquired personal identifiable information for multiple victims from the dark web. Iwuji then used the information to create fraudulent claims for unemployment benefits through the Arizona Department of Economic Security/Unemployment Insurance Program.
As part of the scheme, Iwuji used victims’ information to gain access to existing beneficiary accounts. Upon doing so, Iwuji would change the mail address for where the benefits would be delivered.
Some of the fraudulent benefits were sent to a post office box in Orlando that had been established as part of the scheme.