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Tucson man pleads guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud

Blake was a co-conspirator in COVID-19 fraud scheme
gavel, justice
Posted at 11:54 AM, Sep 07, 2023

TUCSON. ARIZ. (KGUN) — Jonathan Blake, 30, of Tucson, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and was sentenced to six months in prison last month for his part in a COVID-19 fraud scheme, according to a U.S. Attorney's Office District of Arizona news release Thursday.

Patrick Green, 48, and Bethany Helene Green, 46, both of Longview, Texas, were also sentenced. Patrick Green received 14 months in federal prison. Green pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Bethany Green got 37 months in prison. Blake and the Greens are responsible for, and ordered to pay, $226,146 in restitution.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, to offset employees’ lost wages, the federal government added $600 per week in federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) to the states’ standard unemployment payments. In May 2020, shortly after this government relief was announced, Bethany Green devised a fraudulent scheme to apply for Arizona unemployment assistance and the additional PUA funds on behalf of inmates at the Pima County Jail who were not entitled to receive unemployment payments. Bethany Green conspired with inmates at the jail, including her husband, Patrick Green, and another inmate, Jonathan Blake, to apply for benefits on their behalf. Patrick Green and Jonathan Blake also recruited other inmates to the scheme.

A total of 16 inmates provided their personal identifying information which Bethany Green then used online to fraudulently apply and obtain unemployment benefits for the inmates. Bethany Green charged the inmates a fee, typically $1,000, to complete the online unemployment applications. Bethany Green then charged the inmates an additional weekly fee of $100 to file the weekly certifications necessary to continue the unemployment payments.