Corrections investigating inmate COVID-19 stimulus schemes
W.Va. – More than 100 West Virginia inmates have sought to obtain
COVID-19 stimulus relief funds meant for U.S. workers and families,
investigators for the W.Va. Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation believe.
Inmates are not eligible for the Economic
Impact Payments established under the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and
Economic Security (CARES) Act. But that hasn’t stopped the apparent attempts to
apply for the checks from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service.
The 125 inmates identified so far by
investigators include 59 serving life sentences for first-degree murder. A
similar number are incarcerated on lengthy terms for sex crimes, mostly against
children or family members.
The investigation began with a group of
around 25 inmates. DCR’s Investigations Division is working with the W.Va.
State Police on the case.
As inmates receive meals, housing and
medical care at state taxpayer expense, they are considered dependents and are
ineligible for such payments. The IRS called for the return of all CARES checks
sent to inmates in a Monday bulletin to federal and state correctional