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Greenville COVID-19 fraudster returned to prison after flying to Hawaii and Las Vegas while on medical release

Shawn Farmer (2012 mug shot)
Shawn Farmer (2012 mug shot)(Pitt County jail)
Published: Feb. 22, 2022 at 6:10 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 22, 2022 at 6:16 PM EST
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WITN) - A Greenville man was returned to custody Tuesday after the feds say he was released from behind bars to seek medical care before going to prison, but instead flew to Hawaii and Las Vegas where he cashed out more than $90,000.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office says 53-year-old Shawn Farmer was sentenced to 1 1/4 years in prison for fraudulently obtaining COVID-19 disaster loans and for engaging in bank fraud using stolen social security numbers.

Federal prosecutors say although he was initially held in custody, Farmer was released to seek medical care before returning to prison. While on release, he was under the supervision of the U.S. Probation Office and not allowed to travel.

WITN is told that in January of this year, members of the COVID Fraud Benefits Task Force found out that Farmer had traveled to Hawaii and gotten a Hawaii driver’s license. Furthermore, he cashed out as much as $92,000 at casinos in Las Vegas. When identifying himself for tax purposes, Farmer used a social security number that is not his. At this time, he still owed more than $42,000 on his federal criminal judgement.

Prosecutors say Farmer was arrested shortly after and last Friday in federal court, the judge revoked Farmer’s release and ordered that he be sent to prison to serve his sentence.

Farmer previously pled guilty to false, fictitious, and fraudulent claims, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 287; and Bank Fraud and Aiding and Abetting, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1344 and 2.

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