4 charged with scamming Michigan, California unemployment agencies out of more than $2M

Four people are accused of scamming unemployment agencies in Michigan and California out of more than $2 million.

Daeshawn Tamar Posey, 25, of Detroit; Chaz Duane Shields, 33, of Detroit; Cortney Shaquan Shields, 30, a current federal prisoner incarcerated at FCI Allenwood; and Brittany Levett Witherspoon, 25, of Warren, are charged with mail fraud, wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. 

Related: Novi man allegedly used prison inmate IDs to steal $300,000 in unemployment

Posey and Witherspoon were arrested in Metro Detroit on Tuesday, and Chaz Shields was arrested Monday near Boston.

The four are accused of filing 240 claims for fraudulent unemployment insurance benefits across at least 20 states and territories. This alleged fraud caused more than $725,000 in losses to Michigan and more than $1,500,000 in losses to California. 

Posey, Chaz Shields, and Witherspoon are accused of filing claims in both their names and other people's names. Claims were also filed in Cortney Shields’, officials said, while he was in prison and couldn't receive benefits. While behind bars, he was allegedly sending other people's personally identifiable information to Posey, Chaz Shields, and Witherspoon so they could file more claims.

Posey, Chaz Shields, and Witherspoon also allegedly deposited money into Cortney Shields's commissary account.

Posey and Chaz Shields are accused of using money they got from the scheme to buy multiple luxury vehicles.

"Taxpayer money diverted into the pockets of criminals means less money going to Michiganders who need help getting through this difficult time," said Acting US Attorney Saima S. Mohsin. "These arrests reflect our ongoing commitment to investigating these schemes and bringing the people who commit these crimes to justice."