NEWARK — A Union resident who previously pleaded guilty to wire fraud in a case involving improperly obtained COVID-19 unemployment benefits was sentenced Thursday to 80 months in prison.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in Newark said in a release that Maurice Mills, 30, of Union, will also be subject to three years' supervised release and is responsible for paying $486,760 in restitution, representative of funds he admitted gaining from unemployment insurance provided by the CARES Act.

According to the release, Mills submitted fraudulent unemployment insurance benefits in New York, where that state's Department of Labor approved and provided Mills with the money.

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The applications, which authorities said were handed in from August to September 2020, used the names of other individuals, but the release did not specify how many.

Established in late March 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act created a mechanism for Americans not eligible for other types of unemployment, such as independent contractors, self-employed, and gig workers, to receive financial assistance.

The U.S. Department of Labor, FBI, Postal Inspection Service and Secret Service all participated in the investigation culminating in the charges against Mills, according to the release.

Patrick Lavery is a reporter and anchor for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at patrick.lavery@townsquaremedia.com

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