Ex-Wilton Manors man gets five years for ID theft and fraud

Ex-Wilton Manors man gets five years for ID theft and fraud

A former Wilton Manors man was sentenced to more than five years in federal prison for stealing the identities of about 44 people to collect $290,494 in unemployment insurance benefits on their behalf, U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer announced Thursday.

Denny Ray Hughes, 40, was convicted of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft for his role in defrauding unemployment compensation programs in Florida and Massachusetts, prosecutors said.

He also was sentenced to three years probation and ordered to pay restitution to both states.

Between January 2011 and April 2012, Hughes obtained the personal information of about 21 people in Florida, including their names, dates of birth, and social security numbers. He created false W-2 documents identifying his victims as employees of Mortgage Relief America to build up employment wage credits in their names, according to court records.

He would classify them as laid off employees and file fraudulent applications seeking unemployment compensation benefits in Florida. The checks, totaling $219,970, were deposited directly into his bank account through electronic funds transfers, evidence showed.

Hughes repeated the scheme in Massachusetts creating another fictitious company called Commonwealth Global Corp. He used the personal information of at least 23 people to pocket $70,524 in unemployment benefits there, prosecutors said.

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