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WC man charged with unemployment fraud

Jerry Johnson, 54, one of three charged in U.S. District Court

A Webster City man was one of three in Iowa to be charged with fraud offenses in federal court after criminal complaints and indictments allege they fraudulently obtained unemployment benefits related to COVID-19 relief funds, according to a Thursday press release from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Iowa.

Webster City man Jerry Johnson, 54, was charged with mail fraud in the proceedings filed.

Alvin Lavon Rex, 6,1 of Schaller, and Brian Whorton, 54, of Marion, were also charged with mail fraud and wire fraud, respectively.

If convicted, each one faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. All three have been released on bond.

Rooting out COVID-19 fraud has become an elevated priority for the Department of Justice since COVID-19 relief funds were appropriated through the CARES Act by Congress and President Donald Trump in March. The benefits of the act included increased unemployment benefits which expired at the end of July.

Those with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 relief measures can report it to the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or online at justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.

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