Houston woman uses Instagram to advertise business conducting government fraud schemes, DOJ says


HOUSTON – A 22-year-old Houston woman has admitted to conspiracy to commit wire fraud, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Monday.

According to officials, from March of 2020 until December of that year, Desiree Coleman conspired with others to commit wire fraud by submitting false applications for government assistance. In addition, Coleman is accused of instructing others on how to defraud government programs and applied for others using false representations.

She charged a fee per fraudulent application she filed.

Coleman used the internet to conduct the fraudulent schemes and had advertised her services via her Instagram stories. Most of Coleman’s conversations regarding FEMA and unemployment fraud schemes were conducted via private Instagram messages, authorities said. Her Instagram page had close to 3,000 followers.

A U.S. district judge accepted the plea and has set sentencing for May 1.

At that time, Coleman faces up to five years in federal prison as well as a possible $250,000 maximum fine.

Coleman was permitted to remain on bond pending that hearing.