FRESNO (CBS SF) — Two Northern California prison inmates and a Los Angeles woman have been charged with submitting $1.4 million in fraudulent unemployment insurance claims to the California Employment Development Department (EDD).
Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California Phillip Talbert announced in a press statement Tuesday that Daryol Richmond, 30; Telvin Breaux, 29; and Holly White, 30; were indicted by a grand jury on charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and aggravated identity theft.
Richmond and Breaux are are inmates in two Kern County prisons; Richmond at the Kern Valley State Prison in Delano and Breaux at the California Correctional Institute in Tehachapi.
White was arrested on Tuesday and the indictment was unsealed following her arrest, Talbert said.
Court documents indicate the EDD applications falsely stated that the inmates worked as clothing merchants, handymen, and other jobs, and were available to work. The three allegedly created fictitious email accounts and used different mailing addresses in Southern California where the claim correspondence would be sent, according to the complaint.
Defendants would allegedly pay family members and associates up to $1,000 to use their physical addresses. The defendants were able to obtain $270,000 from their fake applications, court documents said.
Talbert said the case was the result of an investigation by the FBI and EDD. The defendants each face a maximum of 20 years in prison on the mail fraud conspiracy charges and a two-year consecutive sentence on the identity theft charges. Any sentence would also take into account applicable statutory factors and federal sentencing guidelines.