Posted on May 21, 2021

8 NYC Suspects Accused of Stealing $2m in COVID Relief, Flaunting Cash Online

Jesse O’Neill, New York Post, May 18, 2021

A group of young Brooklyn men ripped off $2 million in COVID-19 relief funds by submitting fraudulent unemployment claims — and then stupidly posted pictures of themselves with their ill-gotten cash, prosecutors said on Tuesday.

Six of the eight defendants — ranging in age from 18 to 25 — were charged in Brooklyn federal court, documents show.

Two of the suspects — Armani Miller, 24, and Johan Santos, 19 — are still at large.

Four of the alleged thieves foolishly flaunted their fortunes on social media, posting pictures of themselves with large piles of cash, according to the court documents.

The men stole personal information from people in the assistance program to obtain the unemployment benefits, prosecutors said.


They were caught with a combined total of more than 100 Key Bank debit cards in other people’s names that they used to make large withdrawals from Capital One ATMs in Flatlands and various locations in eastern Queens, according to surveillance images and the court documents.

The suspects also carelessly used the same addresses and cellphone numbers for multiple false claims, the prosecutors said.


The suspects arrested Tuesday are Byan Abraham, 18, Carlos Vazquez, 20, Angel Cabrera, 18, Gianni Stewart, 19, Andre Ruddock, 25, and Seth Golding, 18.