Atlanta businessman sentenced for major COVID-19 unemployment fraud scheme

Austin Martin Siampwizi, an Atlanta businessman, has been sentenced to over three years in prison for his role in laundering money acquired through fraudulent unemployment claims curing the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Siampwizi, 47, was implicated in a sophisticated fraud operation that exploited the CARES Act's unemployment benefits program. Using stolen identities, Siampwizi and his accomplices filed numerous fraudulent claims with the Washington Employment Security Department, diverting desperately needed pandemic aid into their pockets. This scheme not only victimized over 50 individuals but also strained resources meant to support businesses and workers during the economic downturn. 

Siampwizi's criminal activities extended beyond unemployment fraud. He also submitted false applications for Economic Injury Disaster Loan and Paycheck Protection Program loans for two of his businesses. 

In addition to his prison sentence, Siampwizi has been ordered to pay restitution amounting to $279,210.52 and will be under supervised release for three years following his incarceration. His guilty plea to charges of money laundering conspiracy was entered in December 2023, culminating in the April 1, 2024, sentencing.