Man accused of using stolen identities of UCSD students in bank and pandemic unemployment insurance fraud schemes | USAO-SDCA

Assistant U.S. Attorney Eric R. Olah (619) 546-7540

SUMMARY OF PRESS RELEASE – May 11, 2022

SAN DIEGO — Nehemiah Joel Weaver has been indicted by a federal grand jury for using stolen personal information from University of California, San Diego students in bank fraud and unemployment insurance schemes in a pandemic.

Weaver is charged with 60 counts, including bank fraud, mail fraud, wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, extortion and obstruction of justice.

Weaver’s co-defendant, Mia Nikole Bell, pleaded guilty last week to one count of bank fraud. In her plea agreement, Bell admitted that while employed at UCSD, she stole the personally identifiable information (“PII”) of at least eight students and shared it in an attempt to facilitate a bank fraud. Bell’s sentencing is set for August 15, 2022.

The indictment charges Weaver with using identities he obtained from Bell and other sources. Specifically, Weaver used stolen identities to apply for accounts and loans from a financial institution, to obtain over $200,000 in Employment Development Department (“EDD”) benefit payments from the State of California and to defraud the Arizona State Department of Economic Security. (“DES”) on more than $27,000.

As part of the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act of 2020, Congress granted new unemployment benefits to people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic who would otherwise not be eligible for unemployment benefits. unemployment insurance. The EDD administers unemployment insurance benefits in California and the DES in Arizona.

Additionally, the indictment includes an extortion charge based on text messages Weaver sent to an acquaintance demanding money and threatening that a third party would be “charged with fraud.” The indictment also includes one count of obstruction of justice based in part on Weaver sending a victim a photograph of the victim’s underage daughter along with text messages that read “Lol so dead that you don’t even know it yet” and “I can’t wait to see the look on your face. I paid a lot of money to see it.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Barbara L. Major ordered Weaver’s detention pending trial due to a serious flight risk and danger to the community. The next court hearing is a motion hearing and trial setting before U.S. District Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel on June 13, 2022.

If you believe you have been the victim of COVID-19 fraud, report it to the FBI immediately (visit ic3.gov, tips.fbi.gov or call 1-800-CALL-FBI or San Diego FBI at 858- 320-1800 In addition, the public is encouraged to report suspected fraud schemes related to COVID-19 by calling the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) hotline (1-866-720-5721) or emailing email to NCDF at [email protected]

DEFENDANTS Case number 21-CR-2722-GPC

Nehemiah Joel Weaver Age: 36 San Diego, CA

Mia Nikole Bell Age: 31 Houston, Texas

FEES SUMMARY

Bank Fraud – Title 18, USC, Section 1344(1)

Maximum penalty: 30 years in prison, $1 million fine or double monetary gain/loss

Mail Fraud – Title 18, USC, Section 1341

Maximum penalty: twenty years in prison; Fine of $250,000 or two times the pecuniary gain/loss

Mail Fraud – Title 18, USC, Section 1343

Maximum penalty: twenty years in prison; Fine of $250,000 or two times the pecuniary gain/loss

Aggravated Identity Theft – Title 18, USC, Section 1028A

Penalty: Mandatory two years in prison

Extortion – Title 18, USC, Section 875(d)

Maximum penalty: two years in prison

Obstruction of Justice – Title 18, USC, Section 1503

Maximum penalty: ten years in prison; $250,000

Forfeiture – Title 18, USC, Sections 981(a)(1)(C), 982(a)(2), 982(b) and Title 28 USC Section 2461(c)

AGENCIES

United States Secret Service

San Diego Police Department

* The charges and allegations contained in an indictment are only charges and the accused are considered innocent until proven guilty.

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