JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – A Brandon woman and her brother were both convicted in connection to a COVID-19 relief fraud case.

U.S. Attorney Darren LaMarca said Aubrey Martinez was sentenced to two years of probation for theft of unemployment insurance benefits related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Her brother, John Evans, Jr., was convicted of conspiring with her to commit wire fraud in obtaining these benefits.

According to court documents, Martinez assisted Evans in applying for benefits with the Mississippi Department of Employment Security (MDES).

As an inmate in the Mississippi Department of Corrections (MDOC), prosecutors said Evans was not entitled to receive unemployment insurance benefits. Evans is serving a 20-year sentence in MDOC custody for armed robbery and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. 

The unemployment insurance benefits were federally subsidized through the CARES Act in response to the pandemic.

Evans is scheduled to be sentenced on August 21, 2023, and faces a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000. The pair will be required to pay restitution in the amount of $10,732.

The U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General and the Mississippi Office of the State Auditor investigated the case.

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