ABINGDON, Va. – A 28-year-old man, who authorities said conspired with 36 others to fraudulently file nearly $500,000 in pandemic unemployment benefits, was sentenced to nine years in prison.
Gregory Tackett, of Wise County, pleaded guilty in April to one count of conspiracy to defraud the government, one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft and one count of obstructing justice.
Court documents show that Tackett admitted to conspiring with others, including his girlfriend Lee Lyn Chykta and 35 other people, to file and collect pandemic unemployment benefits.
Officials said that over the course of nine months, they were able to file fraudulent claims for at least 37 individuals, amounting to at least $499,000 in unemployment benefits.
“During a time of national hardship brought on by the pandemic, the defendant conspired with others to defraud the government of funds intended to help Virginians that were truly in need,” Acting United States Attorney Bubar.