Menifee woman is sentenced in unemployment fraud case

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A Menifee woman was sentenced Friday, April 9, to 37 months in federal prison for fraudulently obtaining more than $500,000 in COVID-19-related unemployment benefits, an example of what the Department of Justice described as an “unprecedented explosion” of such crimes. Cara Marie Kirk-Connell, 33, pleaded guilty in December 2020 to a single-count of using an unauthorized access device. According to the Department of Justice, from May to October 2020, Kirk-Connell used personal information that she knew had been stolen and accessed via the darknet – such as dates of birth and Social Security numbers – to file fraudulent unemployment claims with the California Employment Development Department. Federal prosecutors said Kirk-Connell watched YouTube instructional videos on how
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