Florida Man Gets 5 Years In Prison For Scamming Covid-19 Relief Programs

Scammer Sentenced

A Sarasota man has been sentenced to federal prison time after the US attorneys office said that he had “engaged in a pattern of defrauding multiple federal and state programs in order to receive benefits associated with COVID-19”.

Randy Xavier Jones, 34, will serve five years and one month in federal prison for wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, according to the US Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida.

He pleaded guilty March 24, the USAO said. Jones was involved in his fraudulent scams over three months in 2020 court documents said.

He took the money out of the Disaster Loan Program and unemployment insurance benefits provided by the states Workforce Agency.

The US Attorney’s Office said that Jones received $50,000 in an EIDL loan for a business that did not exist, and also loaded prepaid debit cards with cash from “numerous fraudulent applications filed in numerous states,” receiving funds from unemployment benefits at “state workforce agencies in Arizona, California, and Nevada, among others”.

According to the United States Attorney Office, Jones flew to California and spent “several weeks” drawing money from prepaid debit cards funded by fraudulent applications.

Jones took nearly $500,000 from “both schemes”. Jones will be required “to forfeit proceeds relating to the crimes, including the theft of 12 fraudulently obtained prepaid debit cards that contained unemployment insurance benefits that Jones was not entitled to receive,”.


John Nightbridge is a veteran reporter, researcher, and economic policy major from UCLA. Passionate about world issues and potential ways to solve them is a significant focus of his work. Writing freelance and reading the news are John's passions at work. Outside of work, it's all about sky diving, surfing, and stock market modeling.