PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A former Oregon Health Authority employee has been indicted on numerous charges in connection with a nearly $1.5 million embezzlement scheme involving COVID-19 funds, according to the state justice department.

An arrest warrant has been issued by the Oregon Department of Justice for Marzieh Abedin, who is accused of stealing identities and forging documents for sham companies in order to submit invoices to OHA for payment related to COVID-19 vaccination events that had not happened, according to court documents.

Authorities say they believe Abedin is no longer in the U.S.

In total, Abedin is facing 10 counts of aggravated identity theft, six counts of first-degree forgery, two counts of identity theft and one count each of first-degree theft, computer crime and first-degree official misconduct for a total of 21 criminal charges, court documents state.

“Fortunately this fraud was caught by OHA and immediately referred to our Criminal Justice team,” Attorney General Rosenblum said in a statement. “We were able to quickly follow the money through various bank accounts and recover nearly all of it. Let this be a warning to anyone looking to personally benefit from a public health emergency—no one, state employee or otherwise, is above the law.”

According to an affidavit, the investigation started in November 2021, when Oregon health officials brought in an outside company to help with managing and processing invoices and other transactions related to COVID-19-related FEMA funds, and Abedin was hired by OHA to help with the process and submitting and approving invoices from outside companies related to the FEMA funds.

The outside company hired by OHA, Deloitte Consulting, allegedly found that there were payments to vendors that didn’t add up, including a vendor company called Leone Catering. Deloitte consultants found that Leone Catering, which was missing some supporting documents, had invoices for catering services at large vaccination events, “but events were not hosted at those locations on the dates specified on the invoices,” according to the affidavit.

Eventually, investigators said they learned the company was a sham.

Authorities say Abedin started the scheme in May 2021, which “involved the used of multiple stolen identities, forgeries, several falsified documents, the creation of two false internet domains, registration of a fake business, and opening bank accounts in another person’s name,” according to the affidavit, all to allegedly embezzle a total of $1,496,720.08 from OHA’s COVID-19 FEMA funds.

The funds have also been recovered, according to officials.

The scheme also allegedly involved a real company, Eugene-based T-Bev, of which Abedin allegedly created a sham website and email addresses and stole the identity of the company’s CEO, Xincheng Gu, by forging his signature on a W-9 document to put into a bank account under a woman’s name, whose identity she had allegedly stolen.

It’s unclear from the court documents when Abedin was fired from OHA. However, the affidavit states Abedin’s bank records show she bought plane tickets to an airline that serves “the country from which her passport was issued,” that Abedin “made purchases at two airports” and that she no longer lives at her Portland address.