Rhode Island man pleads guilty to defrauding COVID-19 relief unemployment programs

Warwick Police
Warwick Police/Facebook

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE)- A Rhode Island man pled guilty to filing false claims for COVID-19 unemployment relief funds Monday.

Courtney Hilaire (29) pleaded guilty to 14 counts of wire fraud, 2 counts of aggravated identity theft, conspiracy to possess more than 15 unauthorized access devices, and possession of device making equipment.

At the beginning of the pandemic in March 2020, Hilaire filed false claims to receive funds through the Economic Injury Disaster Loans Program.

The EIDL Program assisted individuals unemployed during the pandemic.

Warwick Police arrested Hilaire and two other men, 32 year old Hugh Martin of Pawtucket and 30 year old Shawn Hilaire of Avon, MA, on July 3, 2020 after finding the three sleeping inside a stolen car in a hotel parking lot.

Law enforcement found 33 counterfeit credit cards, fraudulent drivers’ licenses from multiple states, equipment used to read and transfer information onto credit card magnetic strips, listings of individuals identities and personal identifying information, and approximately $13,000 inside the car.

Martin, S. Hilaire and C. Hilaire used stolen Social Security numbers, dates of birth, and other personal identifying information when filing applications online for pandemic relief funds from at least eight states including Rhode Island. Each are facing a total of 5 felony charges.

Categories: Coronavirus, News, Rhode Island, Warwick