A Duluth man is accused of setting up a scheme to illegally receive COVID-19 relief payments and stealing at least 25 Social Security numbers.
Jared John Fiege, 34, was charged this week with four counts of aggravated identity theft, five counts of mail fraud, four counts of wire fraud, two counts of bank fraud and one count of possession of a firearm as a felon, a U.S. Attorney's Office news release said.
Fiege is also facing one count each of identity theft, mail theft, offering a forged check, theft by swindle and two counts of receiving stolen property in St. Louis County District Court, according to court documents filed in September.
According to authorities, he set up a scheme using stolen names, birth dates and Social Security numbers of at least 25 people to receive payments from two COVID-19 relief programs — unemployment insurance and economic injury disaster loan.
Fiege also created fictional businesses and linked them to people without their consent, authorities say. He had fraudulent passports, established false bank accounts and requested bank cards that were sent by mail.
According to court documents, authorities believe Fiege stole at least $35,000 in unemployment claims. It is also believed that he received $35,000 from the Small Business Administration that was meant to help struggling businesses during the pandemic.
In August, an operations officer at Share Advantage Credit Union in Duluth noticed that an ATM was dispensing unusually large amounts of cash, according to the complaint.
After authorities arrested Fiege, they found stolen firearms in his residence. They also found $170,000 in cash — believed to be from his daily visits to various ATMs. Inside his truck, they found $19,000 in cash, cellphones with different names taped to the back of each phone and binders full of information that contained account records for various people.
In St. Louis County District Court, Fiege also faces five stalking charges and one count of aggravated stalking by false impersonation. He has also been convicted of theft by swindle and theft, both felonies.
Alex Chhith • 612-673-4759