LAS VEGAS – A Las Vegas man pleaded guilty today to his role in a conspiracy to commit mail fraud in connection to the illegal possession of unemployment benefit debit cards issued by the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation (DETR) and Arizona’s Department of Economic Security (DES) — the agencies administer Nevada’s and Arizona’s unemployment insurance program, respectively.
Vincent Okoye (40) pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud. U.S. District Judge Gloria M. Navarro scheduled sentencing for September 20, 2022.
According to court documents and admissions Okoye made in court, he conspired with others, including co-defendant Jasmine-Royshell Kanisha Black, to obtain DETR and DES debit cards by submitting fraudulent unemployment insurance claims using other peoples’ personal identifying information, such as their names, dates of birth, and social security numbers, without their knowledge or consent. In total, DETR and DES approved more than $550,000 in benefits for the fraudulent claims.
On July 15, 2020, law enforcement executed a search warrant at Okoye’s residence and found:
- Over $100,000 in U.S. Currency and U.S. Money Orders;
- A forged Canadian passport;
- A postal mailbox master key;
- Over 100 pieces of mail, bearing names and addresses not belonging to Okoye;
- At least 24 pieces of mail from DETR, bearing various names and addresses; and
- At least 100 credit and debit cards not issued in Okoye’s name, including at least 11 debit cards issued by DETR and at least 12 debit cards issued by DES.
At sentencing, Okoye faces a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, a term of supervised release, and a fine.
U.S. Attorney Jason M. Frierson for the District of Nevada and Special Agent In Charge Karon Ransom for the U.S. Secret Service made the announcement.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General, and the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Jim Fang is prosecuting the case.