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Schaller man sentenced to 5 years prison for COVID-related fraud
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Schaller man sentenced to 5 years prison for COVID-related fraud

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SIOUX CITY -- A Schaller, Iowa, man was sentenced Thursday to five years in prison for receiving thousands of dollars in fraudulent unemployment insurance benefits related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alvin Rex, 61, pleaded guilty in December in U.S. District Court in Sioux City to one count of mail fraud.

Alvin Rex mugshot

Rex

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In addition to the prison term, he was ordered to repay $63,070 in restitution.

Rex received unemployment payments in May and June in the names of Arizona and Massachusetts residents, plus the weekly $600 payments through the federal CARES Act, which provided emergency assistance to people affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. An investigation found the funds deposited into a Storm Lake, Iowa, bank account, from which Rex made cash withdrawals and then mailed the money to a Maryland address and others that he was given by a person, whom he has never met but has said he has an online romantic relationship with.

According to court documents, federal authorities believe Rex acted as a "money mule" for a larger criminal organization and that the money was bound for Egypt.

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The man allegedly received unemployment payments in the names of other people, deposited them into a bank account, made withdrawals and mailed the money to addresses he was given by a person with whom he said he has an online romantic relationship.

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