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121 Stimulus Check Claims Made Using Pii Provided by Death Row Son – Modesto Woman Admits – Department of Justice

Sheila Denise Dunlap pleaded guilty in federal court today to conspiring to commit wire fraud and aggravated identity theft, according to United States Attorney Stephanie M. Hinds, IRS-CI Special Agent in Charge Mark H. Pearson, and Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) Special Agent in Charge Rod Ammari.

On May 13, 2021, a federal indictment charged Dunlap, 51, of Modesto, with participating in a wire fraud conspiracy to file hundreds of bogus applications for Economic Impact Payment (EIP) payments, sometimes known as stimulus checks.

The EIP programme was created as part of the CARES Act, a federal relief package enacted into law on March 27, 2020, to deal with the economic consequences of the COVID-19 epidemic.

Individuals who earned less than $99,000 on their 2019 tax returns and those whose income was so low that no tax return filing was necessary (known as non-filers) were eligible to receive EIP money under the CARES Act’s EIP provision. EIP payments ranged from $1,200 to $500 for an adult and $500 for an eligible kid.

Dunlap stated in her plea deal that she conspired with her son from March to July 2020 to collect the personal identifying information (PII) of others and use that PII to apply for EIP funds. Dunlap’s son was on Death Row in San Quentin State Prison serving a life sentence.

Dunlap revealed in her guilty plea that her son collaborated with another in April 2020 to email her a spreadsheet containing the PII of 9,043 persons. Dunlap’s son persuaded her to file the false EIP applications with the PII of the youngest adults listed at the time.

Both D.W. and Dunlap came to the conclusion that these younger, college-aged persons did not have enough income to prompt the filing of a 2018 or 2019 tax return, and hence were likely non-filers eligible for EIP payments.


Dunlap confessed in her plea deal that her son, identified only by his initials D.W., supplied her the PII of his fellow inmates, as well as the PII of others they felt, may qualify as non-filers of 2018 or 2019 income tax returns and therefore be eligible for EIP funds. Dunlap admits that she utilised the PII to file many bogus EIP claims through the IRS’s online EIP Portal. Dunlap indicated her own Bank of America accounts to receive funds in each of the applications.

Dunlap stated in her guilty deal that her son conspired with another to email her a spreadsheet containing the PII of 9,043 people in or around April 2020. Dunlap was urged by her son to file the bogus EIP applications using the PII of the youngest adults listed initially. D.W. and Dunlap both concluded that these younger, college-aged individuals lacked sufficient income to trigger the filing of a 2018 or 2019 tax return, and were thus likely non-filers eligible for EIP payments.

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Dunlap admits that she exploited the PII of these real people – including their names – to file 121 EIP claims in May and June 2020.

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