BOSTON - A Dudley man faces federal charges after being arrested on Tuesday, May 4, for allegedly being involved in a scheme to obtain and misuse COVID-19 related unemployment assistance.
Norman Higgs, 34, faces charges of bank fraud, conspiracy to commit wire fraud, theft of government property and money laundering.
The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance [PUA] program, created by the CARES Act, provides unemployment insurance benefits for individuals who are not eligible for other types of unemployment benefits.
The complaint alleges that from April to June 2020, Higgs obtained over $300,000 in proceeds from fraudulent PUA claims.
Higgs’ bank recalled a portion of those fraudulently-obtained funds. Higgs allegedly paid those recalls with funds from COVID-19 related government loans.
The charge of bank fraud provides for a sentence of up to 30 years in prison. The charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud provides for a sentence of up to 20 years. The charges of theft of government property and money laundering each provide for a sentence of up to 10 years in prison.