Local Detroit street rapper “Big Money Rich, may be doing his “rapping” on stage inside a federal prison after he and another guy scammed Uncle Sam to the tune of $250,000 in a long-running scheme.

“Rich” whose real name is Richard Martin along with his accomplice Tamar Collins conned the government out of unemployment insurance, stealing more than $260,000.

According to the Department of Labor and UIA's fraud division, both men are accused of filing more than 260 unemployment claims online, from March of 2016 to October of 2017.

The criminal complaint alleges that both Martin and Collins used debit cards that they fraudulently obtained from UIA and then used the cards to access unemployment benefits to several addresses in Detroit, Southfield and a few other suburbs. The enterprising duo would then cash out those debit cards at a Bank of America ATM on Seven Mile near Hartwell.

Peter Henning, Wayne State law professor explained how the scam worked: "This is a form of identity theft where none of these people applied for unemployment insurance, and yet, the state fund was drained out of a quarter of a million dollars."

Wayne continued: "Names, addresses, Social Security numbers, all sorts of information ranging from credit cards, places that we work -- this information has been compromised from data breach after data breach, so what happens is, this information is compiled, stored and put in a format where it can be purchased in a variety of forms on the deep web, on the dark web. That is most likely where this came from."

He continued: "That's why you see the federal prosecutors coming down so hard on it, they want to maintain the integrity of the government services so any dollar taken out of that, ends up coming out of employers pockets and ultimately consumers."

The duo is charged with mail fraud, wire fraud, aggravated identity theft and conspiracy to defraud the government. Both men can expect several years in prison if convicted.

FOX 2 reached out to the men's attorneys for comment but has not yet received a response.

Do you think unemployment insurance fraud is as prevalent as welfare fraud in America?

 
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