Friday, January 27, 2023

Women fraudulently rent hotel rooms to raise $400,000 for COVID-19 event in New York

NEW YORK — Two more women have pleaded guilty to defrauding a New York City program in a $400,000 scheme that offered free hotel rooms to help people with COVID-19 isolate themselves, prosecutors said. Is said.

On Wednesday, Haven West was the fourth woman linked to the scheme to plead guilty, the city’s Department of Investigation said in a statement. The 22-year-old Brooklyn native pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud, a felony.

West’s statement came a day after one of his associates also admitted his role in the scheme. Tatiana Benjamin, also known as Ta Banks and Lyric Muwa, pleaded guilty to the same charges on Tuesday. Both sentencing is set for May 18, 2023, when West and Benjamin, 28, could each face up to 20 years behind bars.

“With these guilty pleas, all four defendants are held liable for misusing a city program intended to serve healthcare workers, COVID-19 patients, and others affected by the pandemic for their personal gain.” Investigation, Jocelyn Strober.

Benjamin and West were charged in October 2021, along with Tatiana Daniels and Chanette Lewis, with a scheme to defraud New York’s Free Hotel Room Isolation Program, which was intended to provide free hotel rooms to those self-isolating. Infection or healthcare workers who needed to self-isolate because of exposure to the virus.

The criminal quartet falsely claimed to be health workers and used Facebook to advertise and sell fraudulently obtained hotel rooms to people who did not meet the criteria to participate in the program, according to the DOI. The woman earned hundreds of thousands of dollars by selling rooms from April to July 2020, at the peak of the pandemic.

The DOI said that during those few months the women sold about 1,936 hotel room nights to people.

Lewis, 31, pleaded guilty to two felony wire fraud charges: the hotel scheme and the second, the very long scheme to defraud the New York City Housing Authority. The Brooklyn woman was accused of providing NYCHA with false protection orders, letters from the district attorney and doctors’ notes “certifying alleged medical problems that allowed her to fraudulently obtain public housing benefits for herself and others.” ” That plan worked from July 2020 to October 21, the DOI said.

Daniel, 28, had confessed to his crime in November.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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