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Detroit-area man charged in $849K unemployment aid fraud

ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP) — A suburban Detroit man was arrested Thursday in an alleged scheme to collect $849,000 in unemployment benefits.

Chris Niebel, who called himself Tax Guy Chris, ran a tax preparation business in Allen Park. He was responsible for more than 100 fraudulent unemployment accounts, and his name was on at least 28 bank accounts where money was deposited last year, investigators said.

The payments included enhanced benefits approved by Congress as a result of COVID-19, the government said.

Niebel, 43, appeared in federal court but was ordered to jail to await a detention hearing Friday. No defense attorney was listed in the court file.

Separately, prosecutors said a former federal prisoner was charged with identity theft and fraud in a similar unemployment scam that cost more than $300,000.

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