Federal prosecutors allege that as many as five Venezuelans living in South Florida and Mexico conspired to swipe more than $800,000 in COVID-19 stimulus checks, The Miami Herald reported Wednesday.

Authorities recently arrested 34-year-old Florida man, Jesus Felipe Linares Andrade, who has pleaded not guilty to charges of identity theft and conspiring to steal government money. But prosecutors say he worked with up to four other co-conspirators originally from Venezuela to steal hundreds of U.S. Treasury checks from Americans living in South Florida and Mexico. The group allegedly used fake identifications matching American taxpayers’ to cash their checks, the Herald reported.

The ring was uncovered in an FBI sting operation, prosecutors said. An undercover FBI informant met one of the co-conspirators at a Florida mall in January, discussing 30 checks from Uncle Sam totaling at least $36,000, according to the Herald. At one point in April, Linares…

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