Unemployment scam: Man charged with ID theft following Loop traffic stop

Lamont Andrews | CPD

Many Illinoisans have struggled to get their unemployment claims granted during the COVID-19 outbreak. But one Chicago man seems to have had no problems with the system at all.

Lamont Andrews is facing multiple counts of identity theft and other charges after police found him carrying a trove of fraudulently-obtained unemployment payments and $20,000 cash in the Loop this week, prosecutors said.

When police pulled Andrews over for a traffic violation around 7:20 Wednesday, he ran from the car — leaving a bag on his driver’s seat, according to prosecutors. Cops arrested him on the 100 block of North Wabash after a short foot chase.

Cops opened the bag he left in the car and found 37 unemployment debit cards bearing 37 different names, $20,000 cash, and 20 ATM receipts showing withdrawals totaling $4,000, according to prosecutors.

Investigators contacted six of the victims whose names appeared on the unemployment cards. None of them had applied for unemployment, and none of them gave Andrews permission to apply for benefits on their behalf, prosecutors said.

Unemployment administrators told police the 37 debit cards were worth over $82,000.

Prosecutors charged Andrews with six counts of identity theft, unlawful possession of more than three debit cards, various misdemeanors, and traffic violations.

Judge Charles Beach said Andrews could go home if he posts a $300 deposit bond. Beach also ordered Andrews to stay in the house between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m., but Beach did not order him to go onto electronic monitoring to enforce that order.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is news@cwbchicago.com