Superseding Indictment Provides Defendants to $25 Million, Jail-Primarily based Unemployment Insurance coverage Fraud Scheme | USAO-EDCA


FRESNO, Calif. — A complete of eight defendants have been charged in a superseding indictment for submitting over $25 million in fraudulent unemployment insurance coverage claims within the identities of inmates, minor kids, and others to the California Employment Growth Division (EDD) in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic. The indictment was introduced at present by U.S. Lawyer Phillip A. Talbert following the arrest of all of the defendants.

The unique indictment charged Daryol Richmond, 30, an inmate at Kern Valley State Jail; Telvin Breaux, 29, an inmate on the California Correctional Establishment in Tehachapi; and Holly White, 30, of Los Angeles, with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and aggravated identification theft. The superseding indictment provides Cecelia Allen, 33, of Downey; Fantasia Brown, 33, of Los Angeles; Tonisha Brown, 28, of Los Angeles; Fantesia Davis, 32, of Victorville; and Shanice White, 28, of Hawthorne. They’re additionally charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and aggravated identification theft. Richmond and Breaux are inmates on the Kern Valley State Jail and California Correctional Institute, respectively. The remaining defendants reside within the Southern California space.

In keeping with court docket paperwork, the underlying purposes for the claims falsely acknowledged that the inmates, minor kids, and others beforehand labored as clothes retailers, handymen, and different jobs, and lately turned unemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The defendants created fictitious electronic mail accounts and used completely different bodily addresses all through Southern California for the fraudulent claims. After the defendants obtained the debit playing cards for the claims within the mail, they made money withdrawals at completely different places, on completely different days and instances, and in various quantities all to keep away from detection by authorities authorities.

The precise loss to the EDD and United States is over $5 million. The defendants spent the cash on autos, furnishings, purses, jewellery, and different objects and companies.

This case is the product of an investigation by the FBI, EDD, the U.S. Division of Labor Workplace of Inspector Basic, and the California Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). Assistant U.S. Lawyer Joseph Barton is prosecuting the case.

If the defendants are convicted of the conspiracy to commit mail fraud, they every face a most statutory penalty of 20 years in jail and a fantastic of as much as $250,000. If convicted of the aggravated identification theft, they every face a compulsory two-year consecutive sentence. Any sentence, nevertheless, could be decided on the discretion of the court docket after contemplating any relevant statutory components and the Federal Sentencing Tips, which have in mind a number of variables. The costs are solely allegations and the defendants are presumed harmless till and except confirmed responsible past an affordable doubt.

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