The EDD Actively Prosecutes Fraud

The Employment Development Department (EDD) administers the Unemployment Insurance (UI), Disability Insurance (DI), Paid Family Leave (PFL), and Employment Tax programs for the State of California. To support these programs and the payment of benefits, the EDD collects the associated employment payroll taxes.

At the EDD, we are dedicated to detecting, deterring, and preventing any occurrence of fraud in these programs. We use a variety of cutting-edge methods to detect fraudulent activity. We pursue cases involving the fraudulent receipt of benefit payments or evasion of payroll tax reporting obligations and prosecute those responsible to the fullest extent of the law.

The EDD provides fraud deterrence outreach and education to assist claimants, employers, and their representatives so they understand the serious consequences of committing fraud.

For more information about fraud and how to report it, visit Help Fight Fraud and Ask EDD: Report Fraud.

Recent Fraud Convictions

Previous Year Fraud Convictions: 2019 | 2018

Here are current year fraud convictions detected by the EDD and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

August 2021

  • County: San Diego
  • Court Case Number: CD288697  
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $23,508
  • Claimant: Eric Nemec
  • Conviction: On 06/09/21, the claimant plead guilty to one felony count for violation of section 2101(a) of the California Unemployment Insurance Code (False Statements).
  • Sentence: The claimant was sentenced to three years commitment to California Department of Corrections.  Claimant was given 97 days credit for time served and the execution of the remaining sentence was suspended. The claimant was granted two years formal probation and ordered to pay restitution to the EDD.
  • Summary of Incident: The claimant was an inmate assigned to a program in San Diego that allows qualified state prison inmates to serve the final months of their sentences in a halfway house setting. The Male Community Re-entry Program (MCRP) program rules prohibit inmates from applying for and collecting any public aid, including Unemployment Insurance benefits. However, the claimant submitted under penalty of perjury that he was unemployed as a result of COVID.  This case is a joint investigation between the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office, the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and the EDD Investigation Division.
  • County: San Diego
  • Court Case Number: CD285420
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $44,550
  • Claimant: Arturo Leon
  • Conviction: The claimant plead guilty to one felony count for violation of section 2101(a) of the California Unemployment Insurance Code (False Statements) and one felony count for violation of section 487(a) of the California Penal Code (Grand Theft).
  • Sentence: The claimant was placed on formal probation for two years and ordered to pay full restitution to the EDD.
  • Summary of Incident: Claimant received Unemployment Insurance benefits while intermittently employed.

July 2021

  • County: Solano  
  • Court Case Number: FCR357046
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $81,682
  • Claimant: Cherry Jackson  
  • Conviction:  On 7/13/21, the claimant plead guilty to violation of section 2101(a) of the Unemployment Insurance Code, felony (False Statements)
  • Summary of Incident: The investigation revealed the claimant fraudulently collected Pandemic Unemployment Assistance issued in the name of the victims in the amount of at least $81,682. During an arrest for unrelated charges, the claimant was found to be in possession of several EDD documents addressed to individuals other than herself and a ledger with the identifying information of over a dozen victims. Interviews of the victims confirmed they did not know the claimant and some did not live or work in the State of California. 
  • Sentence: The claimant was sentenced to county Jail followed by three years of mandatory supervised probation.
  • County: Los Angeles
  • Court Case Number: YA100878
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $212,317
  • Claimant: Tracy Lynne Butler (co-conspirator)
  • Conviction: On 4/23/21 the claimant plead nolo-contendere to one felony count for violation of section 487(a) of the Penal Code (Grand Theft).
  • Sentence: On 7/23/21, the claimant was placed on formal probation for a period of five years, ordered to perform 60 days of structured community service and to make restitution to the EDD in the sum of $212,317.
  • Summary of Incident: This case was a conspiracy involving multiple individuals where the main suspect, an office manager in a doctor’s office, falsified medical information and forged the signature of her physician employer to file multiple claims for herself and others. The claimant collaborated with the main suspect to be placed on multiple Disability Insurance claims under false pretenses and then submitted forged medical certifications to obtain benefits. She was also fully employed and failed to report her work and earnings while receiving benefits. 
  • County: United States Attorney’s Office, Eastern District, Fresno
  • Court Case Number: 1:21-cr-00054-DAD-BAM
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $155,777
  • Claimants: Jason Vertz and Alana Powers
  • Conviction: On 04/12/21, Alana Powers and Jason Vertz both entered a plea of guilty to one count each to violation of United States Code, Title 18, section 1349 (Mail Fraud) and Title 18 section 1028A (Aggravated Identity Theft).
  • Sentences: Vertz and Powers were each sentenced to five years and one month in prison for conspiracy to commit mail fraud and aggravated identity theft. 
  • Summary of Incident: Vertz conspired with Powers, a prisoner at the Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF), in Chowchilla in a “bundling scheme” through which Vertz filed fraudulent claims for Unemployment Insurance benefits on behalf of Powers and other CCWF prisoners.
  • Media Release: The United States Attorney’s Office, Eastern District, issued a media release on 07/12/21.
  • County: Kern  
  • Court Case Number: DF015628A
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $21,630
  • Claimants: Richard Derderian, Melissa Godshall  
  • Convictions: The claimants plead guilty to the following code sections:
    • 2101 of the Unemployment Insurance Code (False Statements)
    • 10980 of the Welfare and Institutions Code (False Statements to Obtain Aid)
    • 532, 550, 115, 182 of the Penal Code (False Statements, False Personation, and Conspiracy)
  • Sentences:
    • Derderian was sentenced to three years in prison
    • Godshall was sentenced to two years of felony probation.
  • Summary of Incident:  Richard Derderian filed fraudulent Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claims while incarcerated with the assistance of Melissa Godshall (out-of-custody facilitator) and collected approximately $21, 630 in UI benefits to which he was not entitled.  This was a joint investigation with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the EDD Investigation Division.  

June 2021

  • County/District: Eastern District  
  • Court Case Number: 2:18-CR-0058 JAM
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $609,335
  • Suspects: Robert Maher
  • Conviction: United States Code, Title 18, sections
    • 1341-(Mail Fraud)
    • 1028A (Aggravated Identity Theft)
  • Sentence: The claimant was sentenced to six years and three months in prison and was ordered to pay restitution to EDD in the amount of $609,335.
  • Summary of Incident:  Maher participated in a scheme to defraud the EDD by filing fraudulent claims for Unemployment Insurance benefits. In furtherance of this scheme, Maher and his co-defendant, Michael Herron II created fictitious companies and fictitious employees by using the real identities of persons with and without their knowledge. They then filed benefit claims with EDD falsely stating that their employees had been laid-off or fired. The benefits were deposited onto debit cards that were mailed to addresses controlled by Maher, Herron, or their associates. This was a joint investigation with the U.S. Department of Labor - Office of Inspector General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the EDD Investigation Division.

May 2021

  • County: Central District of California, Los Angeles
  • Court Case Numbers: CR 21-167-GW and CR 21-168-GW
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $219,156
  • Claimants: Christian James and Armand Legardy
  • Convictions: The claimants plead guilty to one count each in violation of United States Code, Title 18, section 1029(a) (2) (Use of Unauthorized Access Devices).
  • Summary of Incident: The suspects are U.S. Postal Service employees who purchased and cashed postal money orders funded from fraudulently obtained EDD debit cards. The debit cards were issued based on fraudulent Unemployment Insurance claims filed using stolen personal identifying information. The suspects stole the debit cards received through their respective post office work locations and used the cards to withdraw cash from ATMs to purchase the money orders. This case is a joint investigation between the United States Postal Inspection Service - Office of Inspector General, the United States Department of Labor – Office of Inspector General, the Internal Revenue Service - office of Criminal Investigation, and the EDD Investigation Division.
  • Media Release: On 5/24/21, the United States Attorney’s Office, Central District issued a media release.
  • County: Fresno County (Eastern District of California)
  • Court Case Number: 1:21-cr-00105-NONE-SKO
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $27,664
  • Claimant: Garrett Scott Wheelen
  • Conviction:  On 5/6/21, the claimant plead guilty to one count of United States Code, Title 18, section 1341(Mail Fraud), and one count of Title 18 section 1708 (Possession of Stolen U.S. Mail).
  • Sentence: Sentencing is scheduled on a future date.     
  • Summary of Incident: This case was a referral from the United States Postal Inspection Service. The claimant was found in possession of stolen mail that he used to obtain the personal identification of others without their knowledge to apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits. 
  • Media Release: On 05/6/21, the United States Attorney’s Office, Eastern District issued a media release.
  • County: El Dorado 
  • Court Case Number: P21CRF0029
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $48,545
  • Claimant: Ryan Taylor 
  • Conviction: The claimant plead no contest to felony violation of section 2101 (a) of the Unemployment Insurance Code (False Statements), and felony section 182(a)(1) of the Penal Code (Conspiracy).
  • Sentence: The claimant was sentenced to two years in prison and was ordered to pay full restitution to the EDD of $48,545.
  • Summary of Incident: The claimant agreed to file Unemployment Insurance (UI) claims for inmates at the El Dorado County Jail. Taylor and the inmates agreed to share a portion of the UI benefits, allowing Taylor to keep the remaining amount of UI benefits as compensation for his efforts. This was a joint investigation with the El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office and the EDD Investigation Division.  Plea and sentencing are pending for additional defendants. 
  • County: El Dorado 
  • Court Case Number: P21CRF0029
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $6,268
  • Claimant: Rosalie Bradley
  • Conviction: The claimant plead no contest to violation of misdemeanor section 182(a)(1) of the Penal Code (Conspiracy).
  • Sentence: The claimant was sentenced to 60 days in jail or the alternative of home electronic monitoring and was ordered to pay restitution to EDD of $2,268. 
  • Summary of Incident: The claimant submitted electronic continued claim certifications on behalf of an El Dorado County inmate, John Ryan. This was a joint investigation with the El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office and the EDD Investigation Division.  Plea and sentencing are pending for additional defendants. 
  • County: El Dorado 
  • Court Case Number: P21CRF0006
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $25,500
  • Claimants: Timothy and Melissa Clark
  • Convictions:
    • Melissa – Plead Nolo Contendere to misdemeanor section 2101(a) of the Unemployment Insurance Code (False Statements).
    • Timothy – Plead Nolo Contendere to felony section 550(A)(5) of the Penal Code (False Claims). 
  • Sentences: Both Melissa and Timothy were ordered to pay restitution to EDD joint and severally in the amount of $25,500.   
    • Melissa – Summary probation for 12 months, 60 days in jail, or the alternative of home electronic monitoring approved by court. 
    • Timothy – Three years in prison. 
  • Summary of Incident: On 4/11/20, Timothy Clark was incarcerated at the El Dorado County Jail on multiple felony charges. While incarcerated Timothy had a conversation with Melissa Clark, who was not in custody.  Melissa agreed to file an Unemployment Insurance claim for Timothy. She continued to submit continued claim statements on his behalf to obtain UI benefits while Timothy remained incarcerated. This was a joint investigation with the El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office and the EDD Investigation Division. 

April 2021

  • County: Placer County   
  • Court Case Number: 62-177996A, 62-177996B
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $23,231
  • Claimants: Kevyn Arquieta and Fernando Alvarado
  • Conviction:
    • Arquieta plead guilty to felony section 2101(a).of the Unemployment Insurance Code (False Statements).
    • Alvarado plead guilty to felony section 2101(a) of the Unemployment Insurance Code and section 182(a)(1) of the Penal Code (Conspiracy).
  • Sentence:
    • Arquieta was ordered to pay $19,181 to the EDD
    • Alvarado was ordered to pay $4,050 to the EDD. 
    • An additional eight months were added to both their current jail sentences.
  • Summary of Incident:  Alvarado provided Arquieta and a third inmate (Oldenbrook) with instructions regarding how to file fraudulent Unemployment Insurance (UI) applications. Arquieta instructed Oldenbrook to complete his UI application while he was in custody at the Placer County Jail.  Arquieta promised financial incentives to Alvarado and Oldenbrook for assistance with fraudulent UI applications. Alvarado also collected UI benefits while incarcerated. This was a joint investigation with the Placer County District Attorney’s Office and the EDD Investigation Division.  Plea and sentencing are pending for additional defendants. 
  • County: Los Angeles
  • Court Case Number: YA102361
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $72,766
  • Claimant: Dana Webster
  • Conviction: The claimant plead nolo contendere to one felony count for violation of section 2101(a) of the California Unemployment Insurance Code (False Statements).
  • Sentence: The claimant was placed on formal probation for two years, ordered to perform 20 days of community service, and to pay full restitution to the EDD.
  • Summary of Incident: The claimant submitted forged medical certifications to obtain Disability Insurance benefits on eight claims. This case was a conspiracy of multiple individuals where the main suspect falsified medical information and forged the signature of her physician employer on multiple DI claims for herself and others.
  • County: El Dorado 
  • Court Case Number: P21CRF0029
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $6,268
  • Claimant: John Ryan
  • Conviction: The claimant plead no contest to sections 550(A)(5) (Conspiracy) and 487(a) of the Penal Code (Grand Theft).
  • Sentence: The claimant was sentenced to prison for two years and eight months. He was ordered to pay $6,268 in restitution to EDD. This was a joint investigation with the El Dorado County District Attorney’s Office and the EDD Investigation Division. Pleas and sentencing are pending for additional defendants.
  • Summary of Incident: John Ryan collected Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) benefits while incarcerated. 
  • County: Los Angeles
  • Court Case Number: BA480328
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $89,507
  • Claimant: Tydrick Carr
  • Conviction: The claimant plead nolo contendere to one count for violation of section 487(a) of Penal Code (Grand Theft).
  • Sentence: The claimant was ordered to pay an initial restitution payment of $12,000 before the next court date. A probation and sentencing hearing is set on a future date.
  • Summary of Incident: The claimant failed to report his work and earnings from approximately 20 employers while receiving benefits from four Disability Insurance claims and one Unemployment Insurance claim.
  • County: Clark County
  • Court Case Number: 2:20-mj-901VCF
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $238,914
  • Claimant: Delashaun Dean
  • Conviction: The claimant plead guilty during February 2021 to violation of United States Code, Title 18, section 1029 (a)(3) and (c)(1)(A)(i) (Possession Of Counterfeit and Unauthorized Access Devices).
  • Sentence: The claimant was sentenced to 30 months in federal prison and to supervised release for three years upon release. The claimant was ordered to make full restitution to the EDD in the amount of $223,505 as stipulated on conviction.
  • Summary of Incident: The claimant filed and received Unemployment Insurance benefits based on stolen identities.
  • Media release: On 4/15/21 the United States Attorney’s Office issued a media release.
  • County: Los Angeles
  • Court Case Number: BA490749
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $548,756
  • Claimant: Melissa Washington (co-conspirator)
  • Conviction: The claimant plead guilty to violation of one count of section 2101(a) of the Unemployment Insurance Code (False Statements) and section 530.5(c)(3) of the Penal Code (Possession of Personal Identifying Information of 10 or More).
  • Summary of Incident: Melissa Washington, Roderick Washington and Will Harrison conspired to submit fraudulent Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claims using stolen identities. The fraudulent claims also included inmates that are currently housed with Melissa Washington’s father, Roderick Washington, who is in custody on a separate matter. This case is a joint investigation with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office and the EDD Investigation Division.
  • County: Central District of CA
  • Court Case Number: 5:20-CR-00210-AB
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $500,000, Restitution ordered: $269,208
  • Claimant: Cara Kirk-Connell
  • Conviction: During December 2020, the claimant plead guilty to violation of United States Code, Title18 section 1029 (a)(2) (Use of Unauthorized Access Devices).
  • Sentence: The claimant was ordered to serve 37 months in prison, 36 months of probation, and to pay restitution in the amount of $269,208 as stipulated on conviction.
  • Summary of Incident: The Murietta Police Department arrested the claimant in September 2020 during a traffic stop where she was found to possess eight EDD debit cards in other individual’s names. The day before her arrest, the claimant used fraudulently obtained EDD debit cards to withdraw more than $1,000 in cash. During the following month, Federal law enforcement officers also arrested the claimant who was found to possess eight EDD debit cards issued in the names of other individuals and approximately $10,000 in cash. This case was a joint investigation with the U.S. Department of Labor–Office of Inspector General, IRS Criminal Investigation, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the EDD Investigation Division assisted by the Murrieta Police Department.
  • Media Release: On 04/09/21 the United States Attorney’s Office, Central District issued a media release.
  • County: San Diego
  • Court Case Number: CE402294
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $56,876
  • Claimant: Joseph A. Edwards
  • Conviction: On 04/08/21, the claimant plead guilty to felony section 530.5(c)(3) of the Penal Code (Possession of Personal Identifying Information of 10 or More).
  • Sentence: The claimant was sentenced to 21 days commitment to the Sheriff and given 21 days credit for time served. He was ordered to serve two years of formal probation and to pay $769 in fines and fees. Restitution amounts to the victims of stolen identities were to be determined. 
  • Summary of Incident: During a car stop by the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, the claimant was found in possession of four EDD debit cards and mail from the EDD, addressed to other individuals. The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department requested assistance from the EDD for a joint investigation.
  • County: San Diego County
  • Court Case Number: SCN420652
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $5,400
  • Claimant: Mario Lopez
  • Conviction: On 3/18/21,the claimant plead guilty to one count each of the following Penal Code sections:
  • Conviction: On 3/18/21, the claimant plead guilty to one count each of the following Penal Code sections:
    • 530.5(c)(3) (Possession Of Personal Identifying Information of 10 or More)
    • 530.5(c)(1) (Identity Theft)
    • 487(a) (Grand Theft)
  • Sentence: The claimant was sentenced to two years of formal probation and ordered to a drug rehabilitation facility for 270 days.
  • Summary of Incident:  The claimant was occupying a vacant home. During a search incident to arrest, the claimant was found to be in possession of EDD correspondence in the name of the homeowner. The homeowner confirmed the claimant fraudulently filed an Unemployment Insurance claim using stolen personal identifying information. This case was a joint investigation between the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the EDD Investigation Division.

March 2021

  • County: Los Angeles
  • Court Case Number: BA490749
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $548,756
  • Claimant: Will Harrison (co-conspirator)
  • Conviction: The claimant plead guilty to violation of section 2101(a) of the Unemployment Insurance Code (False Statements), and section 530.5(c)(3), of the Penal Code (Possession of Personal Identification to Defraud).
  • Sentence: Sentencing was continued to a future date.
  • Summary of Incident: The claimant conspired to file fraudulent Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claims using stolen identities. The fraudulent claims also included inmates that are currently housed with a co-conspirator’s father, who is in custody for an unrelated matter. This case is a joint investigation with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office and the EDD Investigation Division.
  • County: Sacramento County   
  • Court Case Number: SCP-20-379636
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $219,964
  • Claimant: Walter Dawson
  • Conviction: The claimant plead to five counts of fraudulently applying for Unemployment Insurance benefits and possession of marijuana for sale based on the following charges:
    • Section 2101(a), of the Unemployment Insurance Code (False Statements)
    • Sections 29800(a)(1) (Possession of Firearms and 30305(a)(1), of the Penal Code - Ammunition Prohibition)
    • Section 11359(b), of the Health and Safety Code (Possession of Marijuana for Sale).
  • Sentence: The claimant was sentenced to nine years and four months in state prison. He was ordered to pay $219,964 in restitution to EDD.
  • Summary of Incident: The claimant was arrested during December 2020 when Sacramento Probation Officers conducted a probation search at his home.  During the search, nine EDD debit cards issued in different names were recovered as were approximately 20 additional EDD documents in the names of additional individuals. Also recovered during the search was $58,155 in cash. The cash recovered and money remaining available on the EDD cards was to be turned over to EDD as restitution. 
  • Media Release: The Sacramento District Attorney’s issued a media release on 3/26/21.
  • County: Sonoma
  • Court Case Number: SCR-737126-1
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $30,331
  • Claimant: Christina Rebecca Daniels
  • Conviction: The claimant plead no contest and was convicted of one felony count for violation of section 2101(a) of the Unemployment Insurance Code (False Statements).
  • Sentence: The claimant was ordered to pay $30,331 in restitution to the EDD, to serve 120 days in county jail, and was placed on formal probation for two years.
  • Summary of Incident: The claimant collected Unemployment and Disability Insurance benefits while employed and failed to report her earnings to the EDD.
  • County: Los Angeles
  • Court Case Number: YA101746
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $99,282
  • Claimant: James Hay (co-conspirator)
  • Conviction: The claimant plead nolo contendere to one felony count for violation of section 2101(a) of the Unemployment Insurance Code (False Statements).
  • Sentence: The claimant was placed on formal probation for two years and ordered to pay full restitution to the EDD.
  • Summary of Incident: The claimant submitted forged medical certifications to obtain Disability Insurance benefits on eleven claims. This case was a conspiracy of multiple individuals where the main suspect falsified medical information and forged the signature of her physician employer on multiple Disability Insurance claims for herself and others.
  • County: Ventura
  • Court Case Number: 2014036597 F A
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $237,420
  • Employer: David Burgmeier DBA Burgmeier Construction
  • Conviction: On 12/8/20 the employer plead guilty to four counts of section 11880(a)(1) of the Insurance Code (False Statements to Affect Insurance Premiums), and four counts of section 2118.5 of the Unemployment Insurance Code (Failure to Collect and Pay Tax).
  • Sentence:  On 3/3/21 the employer was sentenced to 24 months of formal probation, and ordered to serve 180 days in the Ventura County Jail. The employer was ordered to pay a fine of $2,400 to the California Victim Compensation Board, State Restitution Fund, to pay a monthly formal probation fee of $107, to pay restitution of $176,265 to the State Compensation Insurance Fund, and to pay restitution to the EDD.
  • Summary of Incident: The Ventura County District Attorney’s Office informed the EDD that the employer was not reporting employee wages to the EDD and other tax agencies.  
  • County: Eastern District 
  • Court Case Number: 2:18-CR-0058 JAM
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $609,335
  • Claimant: Robert Maher  
  • Conviction: The claimant plead guilty to United States Code, Title 18, sections 1341 (Mail Fraud), and 1028A (Aggravated Identity Theft).
  • Summary of Incident: The claimant participated in a scheme to defraud the EDD by filing fraudulent claims for Unemployment Insurance benefits. Maher and his co-defendant, Michael Herron II, created fictitious companies and employees by using the real identities of persons with and without their knowledge. They then filed Unemployment Insurance benefit claims with the EDD falsely stating that the employees had been laid-off or fired. The benefits were deposited onto debit cards that were mailed to addresses controlled by Maher, Herron, and their associates.  Maher is scheduled to be sentenced on a future date. This was a joint investigation with the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the EDD Investigation Division.
  • Media Release: The United States Attorney’s Office, Eastern District issued a media release on 3/26/21.

February 2021

  • County: Los Angeles
  • Court Case Number: CR 2:20-cr-00587-FMO
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $1,331,094
  • Claimant: Bonifacio Marinas
  • Conviction: The claimant plead guilty to violation of the United States Code, Title 18, section 1341 (Mail Fraud).
  • Summary of Incident: The claimant took advantage of provisions in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to file approximately eighty-five Pandemic Assistance Unemployment (PUA) claims for individuals who reside in Saipan (Northern Mariana Islands). These individuals did not have any residence or employment history in California. This is a joint investigation with the U.S. Department of Labor-Office of Inspector General, the Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Division, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the EDD Investigation Division.
  • Media Release: The United States Attorney’s Office issued a media release, dated 2/18/21.

December 2020

  • County: Los Angeles
  • Court Case Number: YA100937
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $128,180
  • Claimant: Irna Rae Rose Daniels
  • Conviction: The claimant was convicted on 3/3/20 and plead nolo-contendere to one felony count of violating section 2101(a) of the Unemployment Insurance Code (False Statements).
  • Sentence: The claimant was placed on formal probation for a period of five years, ordered to perform 45 days of structured community service, and to make restitution to the EDD of $128,180.
  • Summary: This case was a conspiracy involving multiple individuals where the main suspect, an office manager in a doctor’s office, falsified medical information and forged the signature of her physician employer to file multiple claims for herself and others. The claimant collaborated with the main suspect to be placed on multiple Disability Insurance claims under false pretenses then submitted forged medical certifications to obtain benefits. She was also fully employed and failed to report her work and earnings while receiving benefits.
  • County: Riverside
  • Court Case Number: 5:20-mj-00537
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $516,337
  • Claimant: Cara Marie Kirk-Connell
  • Conviction: United States Code, Title 18, section 1029 (a)(2) (Fraud Activity in Connection with Unauthorized Access Devices).
  • Summary of Incident: Kirk-Connell was arrested by the Murrieta Police Dept. on 09/11/20 during a traffic stop. Kirk-Connell was found to be in possession of eight EDD debit cards in the names of other persons. The day prior to her arrest, Kirk-Connell used fraudulently obtained EDD debit cards to withdraw more than $1,000 in cash. Investigators of the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General arrested Kirk-Connell with eight EDD debit cards in other person’s names in her possession and approximately $10,000 in cash. On 12/16/20, Kirk-Connell plead guilty to violation of United States Code, Title 18 section 1029(a)(2). Sentencing is set on a future date. This case is a joint investigation with the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, the Murrieta Police Department, and the EDD Investigation Division. 
  • Media Release: The United States Attorney’s Office, Southern District, issued a media release on 12/16/20.
  • County: San Diego
  • Court Case Number: SCE401903
  • Suspects: Jose Orozco
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $77,610
  • Conviction: On 11/12/20, Orozco plead guilty to the following Penal Code sections - (Intent To Defraud Based On Stolen Personal Identification Information).
    • One felony count of section 530.5(c)(2)
    • One felony count of section 530.5(c)(3)
    • One felony count of section 530.5(a)
  • Sentence: Orozco was sentenced to five years in local prison; one year in custody and four years under mandatory supervision. He was also ordered to pay restitution to the EDD in the amount of $77,610 jointly and severally with co-defendant, Alexandra Castaneda. 
  • Summary of Incident: Following a police investigation on an unrelated matter, the El Cajon Police Department conducted a search of the suspect’s residence and discovered personal identifying information believed to belong to victims of identity theft. There were documents indicating that at least eight identification profiles were used to complete fraudulent Unemployment Insurance benefit applications. This is a joint investigation with the San Diego County District Attorney’s office, El Cajon Police Department, and the EDD Investigation Division.
  • County: Los Angeles
  • Court Case Number: YA101332
  • Claimant: Kermin Roberts
  • EDD Loss: $30,501
  • Conviction: The claimant plead no contest to one felony count for violation of section 2101(a) of the Unemployment Insurance Code (False Statements).
  • Sentence: The claimant provided a cashier's check of ten thousand dollars restitution against the total amount owed and was ordered to perform 50 hours of community service and to serve five years of formal probation.
  • Summary of Incident: The claimant collected Disability Insurance benefits while continuing to be employed.   
  • County: San Mateo
  • Court Case Number: 20SF006666A
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $5,701
  • Claimant: Marissa Cherie De La Cruz
  • Conviction: The claimant plead guilty to section 2101(a) of the California Unemployment Insurance Code as a misdemeanor (False Statements).
  • Sentence: The claimant was sentenced to 20 days in jail and two years on probation.
  • Summary of Incident: The claimant was employed and failed to report her work and earnings to the EDD while collecting Unemployment Insurance benefits.
  • County: Ventura
  • Court Case Number: 2014036597 F A
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $237,420
  • Employer: David Burgmeier DBA Burgmeier Construction
  • Conviction: The employer plead guilty to four counts each for violations of section 11880(a)(1) of the Insurance Code (False Statements), and section 2118.5 of the Unemployment Insurance Code (Failure to Withold, Collect and Pay Tax). The employer submitted a check for $10,000 to the court payable to the EDD for partial restitution pending sentence scheduled on a future date.
  • Summary of Incident: The Ventura County District Attorney’s Office forwarded an allegation that the employer was paying wages to employees but not reporting the wages to the EDD and other required agencies.
  • County: Miami Dade, FL
  • Court Case Number:  CR19-403-CAS – 1,2 & 4
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $126,438
  • Suspects: Bonize Bon, Bonia Bon, Gregory Bon, & Elida Dieujuste
  • Convictions: The claimants each plead guilty to violation of United States Code, Title 18, section 1341 (Mail Fraud) on the dates shown:
    • Bonize Bon plead guilty on 12/03/20
    • Bonia Bon plead guilty on 11/16/20
    • Elida Dieujuste plead guilty on 11/16/20
  • Summary of Incident:  An allegation was received regarding potential Unemployment Insurance fraud based on identity theft. UI claims were filed from Florida using the personal identifying information of California residents without their knowledge. The claimants initially utilized a California mailing address to establish the UI claims and then proceeded to change the address to a Florida address they controlled. It is believed that multiple individual group cells were involved in perpetrating this scheme with the four defendants associated with 128 fraudulent UI claims for a loss of $126,438.
  • County: San Diego
  • Court Case Number: SCE401903
  • Suspects: Alexandra Castaneda
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $77,610
  • Conviction: On 10/30/20, Castaneda plead guilty to the following Penal Code sections:
    • One felony count of section 487(a) (Grand Theft)
    • One felony count of section 530.5(a)
    • One felony count of section 530.5(c)(2) (Intent To Defraud Based on Stolen Personal Identification Information)
  • Sentence: Castaneda was sentenced to three years in local prison; one year in custody and two years under mandatory supervision. He was also ordered to pay restitution to the EDD in the amount of $77,610, jointly and severally with co-defendant, Jose Orozco. 
  • Summary of Incident:  Following a police investigation on an unrelated matter, the El Cajon Police Department conducted a search of the suspect’s residence and discovered personal identifying information believed to be identity theft. There were documents indicating that at least eight identification profiles were used to complete fraudulent Unemployment Insurance benefit applications. This is a joint investigation with the San Diego County District Attorney’s office and the EDD Investigation Division.

November 2020

  • County: Contra Costa
  • Court Case Number: 01-187788-5
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $226,671
  • Employer: Selina Singh and Kabir Singh DBA Bara Infoware/Federal Solutions Group
  • Convictions: On 9/01/20 the employers plead guilty to felony violations as follows:
    1. Selina Singh: Sections 11880(a) of the Insurance Code (False Statements), 2117.5 of the Unemployment Insurance Code (Failure to File Tax Returns), and 186.11 of the Penal Code.
    2. Kabir Singh: Sections 11880(a) of the Insurance Code and 186.11 of the Penal Code (Aggravated White Collar Crime Enhancement).
  • Sentences: Felony convictions will be reduced to misdemeanors if restitution is paid in full prior to completion of probation. Restitution is to be paid jointly and severally among the co-defendants.
  • Selina Singh was sentenced as follows:
    • Five years formal probation
    • 364 days in jail (electronic home detention applies)
    • $250,000 fine per section186.11 of the Penal Code
    • Restitution ordered:
      • $226,671.79 to the EDD
      • $25,563 to the State Compensation Insurance Fund
      • $590,580 to private insurance carriers
  • Kabir Singh was sentenced as follows:
    • Five years formal probation
    • 364 days in jail (electronic home detention)
    • Restitution ordered:
      • $226,671.79 to the EDD
      • $25,563 to the State Compensation Insurance Fund
      • $590,580 to private insurance carriers
  • Summary of Incident: Bara Infoware/Federal Solutions Group underreported $3,046,501 of employee wages to the EDD.
  • County: United States District Court - Sacramento
  • Court Case Number: 2:20-cr-009-KJM
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $219,871
  • Claimant: Angela Stubblefield
  • Conviction: The claimant plead guilty to one felony count each of United States Code Title 22, section 371 (Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud) and section 1028A (Aggravated Identity Theft).
  • Sentence: The claimant was sentenced to two years and six months in prison, and 24 months of supervised probation.
  • Summary of Incident: The claimant and co-defendant, Katherine Decker, conspired to use Decker’s position as an employee of the EDD to file fraudulent Disability Insurance claims and extensions of existing claims using the names and identities of real persons with and without their knowledge.
  • Media Releases: On 11/09/20, the United States Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of California issued a press release.

October 2020

  • County: Los Angeles County
  • Court Case Number: YA102059
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $66,100
  • Claimant: Gricelda Sanchez
  • Conviction: On 9/22/20, the claimant plead no contest and was convicted of one felony count for violation of section 2101(a) of the Unemployment Insurance Code (False Statements).
  • Sentence: On 10/2/20, the claimant agreed to pay $66,100 to the EDD and complete 60 days of community service.
  • Summary of Incident: This case was a conspiracy involving multiple individuals where the main suspect, an office manager in a doctor’s office, falsified medical information and forged the signature of her physician employer to file multiple Disability Insurance claims for herself and others. The claimant collaborated with the main suspect to be placed on a claim under false pretenses then submitted forged medical certifications to collect benefits.

September 2020

  • County: United States District Court - Sacramento
  • Court Case Number: 2:20-cr-009-KJM
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $373,565
  • Claimant: Katherine Decker
  • Conviction: The claimant plead guilty to one felony count each for violation of United States Code (USC) Title 18, section 371 )Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud) and section 1028A USC (Aggravated Identity Theft).
  • Sentence: The claimant was sentenced to three years seven months in prison and 12 months of supervised probation.
  • Summary of Incident: The claimant was an employee of the EDD in conspiracy with another to file 15 fraudulent Disability Insurance claims and extensions of existing claims using the names and identities of real persons with and without their knowledge. 
  • Media Releases: On 09/14/20, the United States Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of California, issued a media release.
  • County: Los Angeles
  • Court Case Number: YA101296
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $119,256
  • Claimant: Patricia Robles
  • Conviction: The claimant plead no contest to one felony count for violation of section 2101(a) of the Unemployment Insurance Code (False Statements).
  • Sentence: The claimant was ordered to pay $119,256 in restitution to the EDD and to perform 180 hours of community service. She was also placed on formal probation for five years.
  • Summary of Incident: This case was a conspiracy involving multiple individuals where the main suspect, an office manager in a doctor’s office, falsified medical information and forged the signature of her physician employer to file multiple Disability Insurance claims for herself and others. The claimant collaborated with the main suspect to be placed on a claim under false pretenses then submitted forged medical certifications to collect benefits.

August 2020

  • County: Los Angeles County
  • Court Case Number:BA473778
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $124,505
  • Claimant: Evia Anderson
  • Conviction: On 06/26/19, the claimant plead nolo contendere to one felony count for violation of section 2101(a) of the Unemployment Insurance Code (False Statements).
  • Sentence: On 08/26/20, the claimant was placed on summary probation for a period of 18 months, was ordered to perform 33 days of community labor, and to make restitution to EDD for the full amount due. The felony conviction was reduced to a misdemeanor on proof of payment.
  • Summary of Incident: The claimant failed to report her work and earnings while collecting Disability Insurance benefits from six claims.

July 2020

  • County: Contra Costa
  • Court Case Numbers: 01-193357-1
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $808,455
  • Employer: Maurosan Milhomen and Jorge Neukirchen DBA Viking Pavers Inc.
  • Conviction: On 07/27/20, Milhomen plead no contest to one count each of section 2117.5 of the Unemployment Insurance Code (Failure to File Tax Returns) and section 11760(a) of the Insurance Code (False Statements), both felonies.
  • Sentence: Milhomen was sentenced to five years of formal probation, 364 days of home detention, and was ordered to pay a restitution amount of $808,455 to the EDD.  All counts against Neukirchen were dismissed in the interest of justice.
  • Summary of Incident: The employer withheld revenue of Viking Pavers Inc. as “bad debt” unpaid by customers which were documented in a second set of accounting records. The checks, along with payroll cash receipts, were turned over to a check cashing vendor and the funds from these checks were used to pay day laborers in cash apart from acknowledged employees. The employers also misclassified payments made to unlicensed subcontractors through an “outside materials” expense account. The cash paid to day laborers and the payments made to unlicensed subcontractors were not reported to the EDD.
  • Media Releases: The Contra Costa Herald and CBS Bay Area broadcasting affiliate issued reports describing the violations and conviction.

March 2020

  • County: Eastern District of California, Sacramento
  • Court Case Number: 2:17-CR-0060MCE
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $887,199 (total conspiratorial overpayment)
  • Claimant: Pamela Emanuel
  • Conviction: On 12/10/19 the claimant plead guilty to violation of United States Code, Title 18, sections 1341 (Mail Fraud) and section 1028A (a)(1) (Aggravated Identity Theft).
  • Sentence: The claimant was sentenced to six years and three months in prison and was ordered to pay $773,733 in restitution.
  • Summary of Incident: The claimant was a co-conspirator in an identity theft scheme involving over 250 victims. Charges are pending against other defendants. Between 07/22/15 and 07/14/16, the suspect and four co-defendants perpetrated a scheme to obtain benefit payment debit cards issued in the names of identity theft victims to fraudulently obtain Unemployment Insurance benefits. The conspirators filed 269 false claims attempting to obtain $2.4 million in fraudulent benefits. This case was investigated by the EDD mutually with U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
  • Media Release: On 03/20/20, the United States Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of California, issued a media release describing the sentence of Pamela Emanuel.
  • County: Los Angeles
  • Court Case Number: YA100937
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $128,180
  • Claimant: Irna Daniels
  • Conviction: The claimant plead nolo-contendere to one felony count of violating section 2101(a) of the Unemployment Insurance Code (False Statements).
  • Sentence: Sentencing is continued to a future date.
  • Summary: The claimant submitted forged medical certifications to obtain Disability Insurance benefits from seven claims. She was also fully employed and failed to report her work and earnings while receiving benefits.

February 2020

  • County: Kern
  • Court Case Numbers: BF176611A, BF176611B, BF176611C, and BF176611D
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $1,131,764 (including penalties and interest)
  • Employer: Gabriel Moreno Gallardo, DBA, Kern County Cultivation, Inc.; South Valley AG Services; and West Valley Farming.
  • Conviction: On 01/15/20 Gabriel Moreno Gallardo plead guilty to violation of section 182(a)(1) of the Penal Code (Conspiracy) and sections 2101.5 (False Statements to Lower Tax Contribution) and 2118.5 (Failure to Withhold, Collect, and Pay Tax) of the Unemployment Insurance Code. The plea was combined for violations related to the employer’s three business entities represented in each of the EDD investigation cases. All counts for Silvia Esther Gallardo were dismissed.
  • Sentence: On 02/21/20 the employer was sentenced to one year in county jail, five years of felony probation, and was ordered to pay $1,131,764 restitution for violations associated with his three employer entities. As a condition of his plea, the employer is not allowed to own or operate any business during the term of his probation.
  • Summary of Incident: Gabriel Moreno Gallardo, with the help of family members, continued to open and close accounts with the EDD leaving unpaid tax balances. In order to continue operating without paying the tax liabilities due, each employer registration was opened under a different business and owner name. In some instances, no returns were submitted to the EDD and no liability payments were remitted to the EDD. However, several claimants have collected Unemployment and Disability Insurance benefits against these accounts, including the employer Gabriel Moreno Gallardo and his wife.
  • Media Release: On 02/26/20, the Kern County District Attorney’s Office issued a media advisory.
  • County: Santa Barbara
  • Court Case Number: 1494847
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $100,730 (includes penalties and interest)
  • Employer: Mark Melchiori, DBA, Melchiori Construction
  • Sentence: Based on a felony plea during October 2019 for violations including diversion of construction funds, the employer was sentenced on 02/20/20 to nine years and four months in state prison. The employer was ordered to pay $1,030,708 restitution to his contracting agent and was ordered to pay $1,000,000 restitution pursuant to section 186.11(c) of the Penal Code (White Collar Crime Enhancement to Freeze Assets).
  • Summary of Incident: The employer withheld taxes from his employee’s wages, however failed to report the wages and remit payroll taxes to the EDD and other agencies.
  • County: San Diego
  • Court Case Number: SCD280699
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $131,663
  • Employer: Ali Nourmohammadi and Gholam Samandari DBA Pioneer Construction LLC
  • Convictions:
    • On 02/11/20, Ali Nourmohammadi plead guilty and was convicted of one misdemeanor count of section 2118.5 of the Unemployment Insurance Code (Failure to Withhold, Collect, and Pay Tax).
    • On 02/11/20, Gholam Samandari plead guilty and was convicted of one count, each, of section 11880(a) of the Insurance Code (False Statements to Determine Premium), section 2118.5 of the Unemployment Insurance Code (Failure to Withhold, Collect, and Pay Tax) and section 30605(a) of the Penal Code - Possession of Assault Weapon.
  • Sentence:
  • Nourmohammadi was sentenced to three years of summary probation and was ordered to pay $131,663 in restitution to the EDD, joint and severally with the co-defendant.
  • Sentencing for Samandari was continued to a future date.
  • Summary of Incident:  The employer was underreporting payroll to the State Compensation Insurance Fund (SCIF) and the EDD. The unreported wages were being paid to employees through cash payments or checks written outside of payroll recordkeeping. 
  • County: Los Angeles
  • Court Case Number: VA146125
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $9,833
  • Claimant: Michael Figueroa
  • Conviction: The claimant plead nolo-contendere to felony violation of section 2101(a) of the Unemployment Insurance Code (False Statements).
  • Sentence: The claimant was sentenced to serve one day in the Los Angeles County Jail, to serve three years of probation, and was ordered to pay full restitution, which he has paid.
  • Summary: The claimant failed to report his work and earnings while collecting Unemployment Insurance benefits.
  • County: Fresno
  • Court Case Number: F14905405
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $2947 (state tax liability, including penalties and interest)
  • Employer: Travis Jay Alexander, DBA, United Guard Service
  • Conviction: On 12/05/19, the employer plead no contest to one count for violation of section 11880(a) of the Insurance Code (False Statements) and one count for violation of section 2106 (Willful Failure to Furnish Required Reports), of the Unemployment Insurance Code.
  • Sentence: On 02/04/20, the employer was sentenced to one year in county jail, and 275 days to be served on electronic monitoring plus five years of formal probation upon release from custody. Restitution was ordered for the amount due to the EDD plus additional amounts owed to the State Compensation Insurance Fund and to former employees for unpaid wages. 
  • Summary of Incident: The EDD received information alleging that employees of United Guard Service were being paid in cash and that tax deductions from their pay were not remitted to the EDD.

January 2020

  • County: US District Court – Central District of California
  • Court Case Number: 8:19-00094-AG
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $586,000
  • Claimant: Jeffrey Silhanek
  • Conviction: The claimant plead guilty to two counts for violation of United States Code, Title 18, section 1341 ( Mail Fraud).
  • Sentence: The claimant was sentenced to 18 months in prison and three years of supervised release. During sentencing, the claimant provided a check in the amount of $40,000 to be applied towards his restitution.
  • Summary of Incident: The claimant filed Unemployment Insurance claims using stolen identities of approximately 250 individuals. The claimant controlled the mailing addresses to which the benefit checks were mailed and also received payments through direct deposit from EDD debit cards.
  • County: Calaveras
  • Court Case Number: 18F7290
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $27,028
  • Employer:  Christopher Rinauro, DBA, Proper Pruning Service
  • Conviction: The employer plead no contest to two misdemeanor counts for violation of sections 2101 (False Statements) and 2106 (Willful Failure to Furnish Required Reports) of the Unemployment Insurance Code for payroll tax fraud and two misdemeanor counts for violation of section 11880 of the Insurance Code (False Statements) for Workers’ Compensation Insurance fraud.
  • Sentence: The employer was sentenced to three years of probation, ordered to perform 120 hours of community service, and to pay restitution of an amount to be determined during a restitution hearing scheduled on a future date.
  • Summary of Incident: The employer operated a tree trimming business. Investigation revealed the employer intentionally failed to report all his employee wages to the EDD and knowingly made a false statement to the State Compensation Insurance Fund for the purpose of reducing the cost of his Workers’ Compensation Insurance.
  • County: Los Angeles
  • Court Case Number: BA459168
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $66,111
  • Claimant: Cupid Hall
  • Conviction: The defendant plead guilty to felony violation of section 2101(a) of the Unemployment Insurance Code (False Statements).
  • Sentence: The defendant was ordered to pay full restitution to the EDD, to serve three years of formal probation, to perform 100 hours of community service, and 364 days of electronic monitoring.
  • Summary of Incident: The defendant was employed by a doctor whose signature she forged to authorize seven Disability Insurance claims for five individuals from whom she received cash payments.