An empty courtroom with benches, judges bench flag and elaborate chandelier.
An example of a courtroom, but not one in the story. Photo from Pixabay.

A Santa Ana man was named in a grand jury indictment Wednesday alleging he racked up $1.25 million in unemployment benefits related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nhan Hoang Pham, 36, was accused of stealing personal information from victims with similar names to apply for the unemployment money, federal prosecutors said.

Pham is charged with three counts of mail fraud relating to benefits from a presidentially declared emergency, a count of wire fraud related to benefits connected to a presidentially declared emergency, and four counts of aggravated identity theft.

Pham submitted 24 phony applications for unemployment insurance to the state from about July 2020 through April of last year, prosecutors said. He allegedly stole birth dates and Social Security numbers of residents in California, Texas and Michigan, prosecutors said.

He had the unemployment benefit cards sent to mail boxes he had in Anaheim, the indictment alleges. He applied for $1,255,350 in unemployment, but the total loss in the case is $408,496, prosecutors said.

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