Massachusetts man sentenced for COVID-relief fraud, ID theft


A judge’s gavel is shown in a file photo. (Credit: iStock / Getty Images Plus)

BOSTON (AP) — A Massachusetts man who used stolen identities to fraudulently apply for pandemic-related unemployment benefits has been sentenced to more than three years in prison.

Federal prosecutors say 33-year-old Wagner Sozi, of Malden, was also ordered by a judge on Wednesday to pay about $110,000 in forfeiture and restitution.

Prosecutors say Sozi use the stolen information to open accounts, make purchases — including a $15,000 Rolex watch — rent cars, and apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits.

He pleaded guilty in May to wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and making a false claim.

An accomplice has also pleaded guilty and awaits sentencing.

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