PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ A fifth man accused of stealing Rhode Islanders’ identities and using them to defraud the state’s unemployment benefits program is now in custody, according to federal prosecutors.
Allen Bien-Aime, 29, of Lehigh Acres, Fla., was arrested Wednesday morning, the office of U.S. Attorney Aaron Weisman announced.
The fraud investigation has been ongoing since May, when the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training (DLT) received thousands of complaints from residents who believed their identities were being used to file false unemployment claims.
Bien-Aime and his co-defendants face several charges including bank fraud, wire fraud, theft of public money, money laundering and aggravated identity theft.
The four men arrested two weeks ago were detained pending further proceedings.
Those arrests netted more than $1.2 million in cash and several hundred debit cards in victims’ names, as well as jewelry and firearms.
Under the alleged scheme, the men stole identities to apply online for unemployment benefits and have the funds deposited directly into bank accounts reserved for the stolen cash.
Rhode Islanders who believe their personal identification was stolen and used to fraudulently obtain unemployment benefits from the DLT are urged to contact Rhode Island State Police at email@example.com or the FBI Providence office at (401) 272-8310.