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Brandon brother and sister duo convicted for COVID-19 relief fraud

Photo courtesy of the FBI

A brother and sister duo out of Brandon have been both convicted in connection to a COVID-19 relief fraud case.

According to court documents, Aubrey Martinez assisted her brother, John Evans, Jr. in applying for benefits with the Mississippi Department of Employment Security.

As an inmate in the Mississippi Department of Corrections, prosecutors said Evans was not entitled to receive unemployment insurance benefits. Evans is serving a 20-year sentence in MDOC custody for armed robbery and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

The unemployment insurance benefits were federally subsidized through the CARES Act in response to the pandemic.

Martinez was sentenced to two years of probation for the insurance benefits theft. Evans was convicted of conspiring with her to commit wire fraud in obtaining the benefits.

Evans is scheduled to be sentenced on August 21, 2023, and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. The pair will be required to pay restitution in the amount of $10,732.

The U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, and the Mississippi Office of the State Auditor investigated the case.

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