NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) – A Hampton man was sentenced to 27 months in prison for a fraud scheme to receive COVID-19 unemployment benefits.

Court documents show that 27-year-old Demichael J. Peeples submitted false unemployment claims for both himself and on behalf of others with the Commonwealth of Virginia and the State of California.

Demichael J. Peeples (27)

According to a news release from the U.S. District Attorney’s Office, Peeples recruited individuals on social media to provide their identifying information so we could file a fraudulent claim in their name.

In those claims, Peeples falsely represented the applicant’s work history and that they lost employment due to the pandemic. Peeples also, in most cases, had the benefit payments delivered to his residence and kept the proceeds for himself.

Peeples is a documented member of the “10K” street gang on the Peninsula and while on pretrial release, failed to comply with his conditions of release.

After pleading guilty, the Court revoked Peeples bond and remanded him into the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service.