RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A former registered nurse at a Richmond medical center pleaded guilty to participating in a conspiracy to defraud multiple state workforce agencies of COVID-19 pandemic-related benefits intended for unemployed workers.

According to the Department of Justice (DOJ), 52-year-old Heather Huffman and her co-conspirators worked to defraud the Virginia Employment Commission, the Washington State Employment Security Department and the California Employment Development Department of unemployment insurance benefits.

The scheme was executed by submitting false and misleading applications in the names of identity theft victims, according to the DOJ. This included false employment and wage histories, false mailing addresses, false email address and phone numbers that did not belong to the purported applicants.

Huffman’s conspirators reportedly obtained and shared among themselves the personal identifying information of identity theft victims and inmates.

Huffman was employed as a registered nurse at the Veterans Affairs Hunter Holmes McGuire Medical Center in Richmond at the time of the conspiracy. Huffman used Veterans Affairs assets to further her conspirators’ scheme by submitting false and misleading unemployment insurance applications on her work computer.

In total, Huffman and her conspirators obtained over $2 million in unemployment benefits. Huffman is the fourth and final member of the conspiracy to plead guilty.

Huffman is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 29. She faces a maximum of 32 years and a mandatory sentence of 2 years in prison. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalty.

Co-conspirators Sheldon Huffman, Anthowan Daniels and Dorothea Rosado have pleaded guilty to their roles in the scheme and will be sentenced in November as well.