news hampton gang member sentenced in covid 19 unemployment benefits fraud case

Hampton gang member sentenced in COVID-19 unemployment benefits fraud case

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A Hampton man was sentenced last week to 27 months in prison for a fraud scheme to obtain unemployment benefits made available because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to court documents, Demichael J. Peeples, 27, submitted multiple false unemployment claims with the Commonwealth of Virginia and State of California. He filed fraudulent claims for benefits for himself and on behalf of others. In these claims, Peeples falsely represented, among other things, the applicants’ work history and that they lost their employment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Peeples recruited individuals on social media to provide their personally identifying information, so he could file fraudulent claims for benefits in their name. In many cases, the defendant had the benefit payments delivered to his residence and kept the proceeds for himself.

Peeples is a documented member of the “10K” street gang on the Peninsula. While on pretrial release, he used illegal drugs, failed to seek employment, did not report contact with law enforcement to his supervising probation officer, and otherwise failed to comply with his conditions of release.

In March, Peeples was evicted from a hotel room where police found a Glock semiautomatic firearm that had a preliminary match to a shooting that occurred earlier that same day. In May, police were dispatched to Peeples’s residence after unknown individuals fired 19 rounds at Peeples.

After pleading guilty, the court revoked his bond and remanded him into the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.

Chris Graham

I write books, two on UVA basketball, one on pro wrestling, one on politics, which is getting to be like pro wrestling more and more each day. I've finished three marathons, but I'm over that. Oh, and I'm a progressive who voted for Biden, but I'm over that, too. (We need somebody else in 2024!) Want to reach me? Try [email protected]