BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) – A 41-year-old Baton Rouge woman will serve time in federal prison after being convicted of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.
According to a news release from U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Gathe, Jr., Shawnda Augustus admitted to attempting to defraud FEMA by submitting 40 disaster unemployment assistance applications to the Louisiana Workforce Commission in her name and in the names of other victims without their consent or knowledge after the 2016 flood.
Between March 2020 and January 2021, evidence showed that Augustus tried to scheme multiple states including Louisiana, Tennessee and Hawaii into receiving pandemic unemployment assistance (PUA) by using personal information from victims. Gathe said Augustus used Social Security numbers, dates of birth and names to submit 29 fraudulent applications to state unemployment agencies.
Augustus received approximately $123,908 in false PUA claims, withdrew the cash and used it for shopping and traveling.
Augustus will serve 75 months in prison, three years of supervised release following her imprisonment and pay approximately $361,074 to state unemployment agencies in
Louisiana, Arizona, Alabama, Georgia, New Jersey, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and New Mexico.