4 women accused in unemployment fraud schemes spanning California

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — 4 girls are accused in California of taking lots of of 1000’s of {dollars} in unemployment insurance coverage advantages meant for these affected by the pandemic.

Two former EDD staff, an inmate and a parolee are charged in three separate schemes focusing on California’s Employment Improvement Division.

U.S. Legal professional McGregor Scott mentioned the collective arrests “might show to be the most important fraud scheme ever perpetrated towards the taxpayers in California historical past.”

The Division of Justice reviews former EDD worker Andrea Gervais, of Roseville, is accused of mail fraud. 

She faces expenses for allegedly acquiring cash by submitting round 100 fraudulent unemployment help claims utilizing different individuals’s names. In a single occasion, she is accused of utilizing the identification of a U.S. senator and was in a position to get hold of a Financial institution of America debit card within the senator’s identify.

On Thursday night time, Assemblyman Jim Patterson, R-Fresno, launched an announcement on the scheme, criticizing the EDD and figuring out Sen. Dianne Feinstein as certainly one of many names Gervais allegedly used to use for funds illegally.

“Take into consideration this for a minute: EDD points a debit card to Senator Dianne Feinstein! How does that occur? I’ll inform you how, EDD is complicit within the fraud by mailing out Social Safety numbers to scammers; or they’re totally incompetent by not even checking eligibility earlier than they problem the debit card,” the assemblyman wrote. “Both means, EDD has aided and abetted the fraud.”

The DOJ says in whole, over $200,00zero in unemployment advantages had been paid out to Gervais’ handle.

San Diego resident and former EDD worker 40-year-old Nyika Gomez was arrested Thursday and charged with fraud and identification theft, in keeping with the U.S. Legal professional’s Workplace for the Southern District of California.

Gomez’s boyfriend, a California State Jail, Sacramento, inmate dealing with 94 years to life in jail for homicide, helped her get the private data of fellow prisoners as a way to submit fraudulent unemployment claims, in keeping with the lawyer’s workplace. She can be accused of shopping for the stolen data of out-of-state residents to submit fraudulent claims.

Surveillance video captured at ATMs confirmed Gomez utilizing the debit playing cards she was despatched via the scheme to get cash for herself and the prisoners whose data she used, authorities mentioned.

Chowchilla inmate Sholanda Thomas and parolee Christina Smith had been additionally indicted, accused of submitting a number of fraudulent EDD unemployment insurance coverage claims within the names of Thomas and different inmates, in keeping with the DOJ.

“The underlying purposes for the claims falsely said that the inmates had labored throughout the prescribed interval as hairstylists, barbers, and different occupations and that they had been accessible to work which was not true as a result of they had been incarcerated,” mentioned U.S. Legal professional McGregor Scott.

The costs are anticipated to be the primary of many as investigators proceed trying into fraudulent claims on the division.

The instances introduced Thursday had been investigated by the U.S. Division of Labor’s Workplace of Inspector Common, the FBI, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the EDD.

“EDD has enhanced its fraud detection and prevention instruments to make sure solely legitimate claimants obtain well timed advantages,” Nancy Farias, chief deputy director of exterior affairs for the Employment Improvement Division, mentioned in a information launch. “We are going to work with legislation enforcement to carry these accountable who search to defraud the unemployment system.”

If convicted, all 4 suspects face no less than 20 years in jail.

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