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Rhode Island man sentenced to prison in Massachusetts for role in $500,000+ fraud scheme



BOSTON – A Rhode Island man was sentenced Thursday in federal court in Boston for his involvement in a fraudulent scheme to obtain and misuse COVID-19-related unemployment assistance.

According to the Massachusetts Department of Justice, 36-year-old Dquintz Alexander was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Angel Kelley to three years in prison and three years of supervised release. Alexander was also ordered to pay forfeiture of $318,281. In April 2023, Alexander pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud conspiracy, five counts of wire fraud, and one count of aggravated identity theft.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act created a temporary federal unemployment insurance program called Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. PUA, administered by the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance, provided unemployment insurance benefits for individuals who are not eligible for other types of unemployment benefits (e.g., the self-employed, independent contractors or gig economy workers).

From April to June 2020, Alexander conspired with his co-worker, Norman Higgs, to submit fraudulent PUA claims using stolen identifying information of other individuals. The PUA payments were directed into bank accounts controlled by Alexander and Higgs. In total, accounts controlled by Alexander and Higgs received over half a million dollars in fraudulent PUA payments. While the majority of the funds were frozen by banks or recovered through the efforts of law enforcement, Alexander and Higgs were able to use over $200,000 of the funds for their personal benefit, including to pay off credit card debt and to fund digital currency and online retail brokerage accounts. On August 2, 2023, Higgs was sentenced for his role in the scheme.

Acting United States Attorney Joshua S. Levy; Christopher DiMenna, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Boston Division; Jonathan Mellone, Special Agent in Charge of Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, Office of Investigations-Labor Racketeering and Fraud made the announcement. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher J. Markham of the Securities, Financial & Cyber Fraud Unit prosecuted the case.

On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to marshal the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across government to enhance efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud. The Task Force bolsters efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies tasked with administering relief programs to prevent fraud by, among other methods, augmenting and incorporating existing coordination mechanisms, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their schemes, and sharing and harnessing information and insights gained from prior enforcement efforts. For more information on the Department’s response to the pandemic, visit

Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at:

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