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Former Virginia inmates charged in pandemic unemployment benefits fraud

Hilliard and George collected over $220,000 in these benefits through repeated false statements.

NORFOLK, Va. — Editor's note: The video above is on file from Nov. 26, 2021.

Two former inmates pleaded guilty in the Eastern District of Virginia to a pandemic unemployment benefits fraud scheme. 

According to a release, from June 2020 through March 2021 roughly, Mark Hilliard, 36, and Elvon George, 33, collected personal information from their fellow inmates at Greensville Correctional Center in Jarratt, Virginia.

They then communicated that information to two outside participants, who filed illegal and fraudulent Virginia Employment Commission unemployment insurance claims.

Hilliard and George collected over $220,000 in these benefits through repeated false statements, according to a news release.

Hillard pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit fraud in connection with major disaster benefits. He is set to be sentenced on April 19, 2022. He faces up to five years in federal prison.

George also pleaded guilty to the same charge and is set to be sentenced on March 31, 2022, and faces the same amount of maximum time.