West Virginia Corrections investigating inmate COVID-19 stimulus schemes

CHARLESTON, WV (WOAY) – 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 officials nationwide.

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