Former veteran’s hospital nurse pleads guilty to taking $2 million in unemployment benefits
RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - A former nurse with the Veteran Affairs Hunter Holmes McGuire Medical Center pled guilty on Tuesday to allegedly steal over $2 million in COVID-19 unemployment benefits from multiple state agencies.
52-year-old Heather Huffman and co-conspirators submitted false applications for unemployment benefits under different names, including fabricated employment and wage history and contact information from April 2020 through at least March 2021.
Huffman and her co-conspirators, Sheldon L. Huffman, Anthowan Daniels and Dorothea Rosado, shared personally identifying information of identity theft victims and inmates, created and maintained email accounts for the false applicants and falsified and forged various documents – including state and federal wage and tax forms – to substantiate the incorrect information in the unemployment insurance (UI) applications submitted.
Once their fraudulent UI applications were approved, the four would file fake unemployment status certifications weekly to get additional UI benefits from state workforce agencies.
During the conspiracy, Huffman was a registered nurse at the Veteran Affairs Hunter Holmes McGuire Medical Center in Richmond. She used her work computer to submit the UI applications to state workforce agencies, among other things. In total, Huffman and her co-conspirators obtained over $2 million in UI benefits intended for workers who faced unemployment during the pandemic.
Huffman is the fourth and final member of the conspiracy to plead guilty. Her sentencing is on Nov. 29. She is facing a maximum sentence of 32 years and a mandatory minimum sentence of 2 years in prison.
Sheldon Huffman, Daniels and Rosado have pleaded guilty to their roles in the scheme and will also be sentenced in November.
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