FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – A 34-year-old Fresno woman pleaded guilty to submitting fraudulent employment insurance claims in several states and applications for small business relief loans (SBA) by using stolen identities during the COVID-19 pandemic, Department of Justice (DOJ) Officials announced on Friday.

Court documents show that between June 2020 to November 2020 Cecilia Aquino submitted unemployment insurance claims and SBA applications containing misrepresentations, including that the named applicants last worked as self-employed dancers, owned interior design businesses, and that they lost their jobs and business revenues because of COVID.

DOJ officials say the state agencies that grant the unemployment insurance, the SBA, and the United States lost $220,000 and were subject to a potential loss of more than $300,000 because of Aquino’s actions.

It was reported by the authorities that Aquino used the funds for gambling, rent, shopping, and other personal expenses.

Cecilia Aquino has been scheduled to receive a sentence on Feb. 21, 2023, she could face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for unemployment insurance and SBA loan fraud, and a mandatory two-year consecutive sentence for identity theft.