SAN DIEGO — An indictment unsealed in federal court on Monday, July 17, accuses Alexandra Crystal McFarland and Demetrius Montre McFarland, a married couple and residents of San Diego County, of participating in a scheme to steal IRS stimulus payments during the COVID -19 pandemic of needy and vulnerable victims and using the proceeds to buy a luxury vehicle, jewelry and furniture.
According to a press release from the Office of the U.S. Attorney Southern District of California, the indictment alleges that between April 2020 and at least September 2020, Ms. McFarland approached homeless and low-income people throughout Southern California with the aim of obtaining their personally identifiable information. (“PII”). Ms. McFarland then allegedly used that information — along with the PII of inmates at two local detention centers — to file applications for Economic Impact Payments (EIP) from the IRS, commonly referred to as “stimulus payments.”
For his part, Mr. McFarland allegedly provided Ms. McFarland with the PII of his fellow inmates at the Vista Detention Center. Mr McFarland is currently serving a state prison for attempted murder, the release said.
According to the release, Ms. McFarland allegedly made false statements to obtain the PII, including that those who provided her with their PII should expect to receive an EIP in the mail, when in fact Ms. McFarland sent the payment of the EIP to a bank account . that she checked. Similarly, Ms McFarland also reportedly claimed that she would help with the application in exchange for an agreed portion of the EIP, but would in fact keep more than the agreed amount – and sometimes the entire EIP. The indictment further alleges that Ms. McFarland also used victims’ PII without legal authority to claim benefits from the State of California Employment Development Department.
According to the release, the indictment states that Ms. McFarland used several EDD debit cards to purchase thousands of dollars worth of jewelry, nearly $9,000 worth of furniture that she shipped to her Spring Valley residence, and to pay part of a $9,000 down payment. 60,000 for a Mercedes cover. -Benz G-Class 550 SUV she bought under the name “Alexa McFarland.” In addition to the conspiracy charge, the indictment charges Ms. McFarland with money laundering based on her purchase of the luxury vehicle, which the IRS seized.
Ms. McFarland entered a not guilty plea on July 17. According to the release, a detention hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael S. Berg is scheduled for July 20, and a motion hearing and trial before U.S. District Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel. before August 7.
Mr. McFarland is expected to make his first appearance on July 18, the release said. Mr. McFarland will be indicted on both the charges and charges that he violated the terms of supervised release imposed in his previous federal conviction for conspiracy to conduct corporate business through a racketeering racketeering activity (RICO) in Criminal Case No. 17 -CR-270-JAH.
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