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 Fraud and Penalties: What You Need to Know and Ask EDD: Report Fraud.

Recent Fraud Convictions

Previous Year Fraud Convictions: 2018 | 2017

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

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April 2019

04/19/19 Disability Insurance Fraud Sentencing
  • County: San Bernardino
  • Court Case Number: 16CR-039096
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $55,409
  • Claimant: Desiree Bejarano
  • Conviction: On 03/16/18, the claimant pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor count for violation of section 2101 of the Unemployment Insurance Code.
  • Sentence: The claimant was sentenced to three years of summary probation and ordered to pay full restitution to the EDD. The claimant paid $8,500 before the sentencing date.
  • Summary of Incident: The claimant forged doctors’ signatures on the forms she submitted to the EDD to fraudulently collect benefits from three Disability Insurance claims.
04/15/19 Unemployment Insurance Fraud Sentencing
  • County: Ventura County
  • Court Case Number: 2016004706
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $20,475
  • Claimant: Ivan Corona
  • Conviction: On 10/18/18, the claimant pleaded guilty to one count for violation of section 2101(a) of the Unemployment Insurance Code.
  • Sentence: The claimant was sentenced to 120 days in jail, ordered to serve 36 months of formal probation, and to pay restitution to the EDD of $20,475.
  • Summary of Incident: The claimant voluntarily provided his personal identifying information to another individual who listed him as an employee of a fictitious business. Multiple Unemployment Insurance claims were filed based on fictitious employment, and both individuals divided benefits paid from the fraudulent claims.
04/11/19 Disability Insurance Fraud Conviction
  • Federal District: U.S. District Court, Central District, Los Angeles
  • Court Case Number: 19-CR-00097-FMO
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $2,318,751
  • Claimant: Rhoda Johnson
  • Conviction: The claimant pleaded guilty to one count for violation of section 1349 of the United States Code, Title 18; conspiracy to commit mail fraud.
  • Sentence: Sentence is scheduled on a future date.
  • Summary of Incident: The claimant, working as an office manager in a doctor’s office, was forging the doctor’s signature to fraudulently file Disability Insurance claims for herself, co-workers, relatives, and others. She would charge and receive cash payments from individuals requesting to be placed on Disability Insurance. The claimant filed 148 fraudulent claims using the identities of 41 people, including herself, beginning in 1991. Many of the individuals, including the claimant, were also working and earning wages while collecting benefits on the fraudulent claims.
04/09/19 Unemployment Insurance Fraud Sentencing
  • County: Los Angeles
  • Court Case Number: CR16-00796 JAK
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $547,904
  • Subject: Rolanda Ashley
  • Conviction: On 10/3/18, the claimant pleaded guilty to one felony count for violation of section 1341, Title 18 (mail fraud), of the United States Code.
  • Sentence: The claimant was sentenced to 54 months in federal prison, was ordered to serve three years of supervised probation, and to pay full restitution of $547,904 to the EDD.
  • Summary of Incident: The suspect set up fictitious companies, reported false wages for fictitious employee’s using stolen identities, and collected Unemployment Insurance benefits based on the fraudulent claims.
  • Media Release: The United States Attorney’s Office, Central District, issued a media release: https://www.justice.gov/usao-cdca/pr/orange-county-woman-sentenced-4-years-federal-prison-unemployment-insurance-fraud.
04/08/19 Disability Insurance Fraud Sentencing
  • County: Los Angeles
  • Court Case Number: NA107160
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $31,773
  • Claimant: Donell R. Wheaton
  • Conviction: On 09/11/18, the claimant pleaded nolo contendere to one felony count for violation of section 2101(a) of the Unemployment Insurance Code.
  • Sentence: The claimant paid the $31,773 restitution amount in full for the overpayment, plus a 30% administrative penalty for a total of $41,305. He was placed on summary probation for two years and was ordered to perform 10 days of work for Caltrans. The felony conviction was reduced to a misdemeanor.
  • Summary of Incident: The claimant failed to report his work and earnings while collecting Disability Insurance benefits.
04/03/19 Disability Insurance Fraud Sentencing
  • County: San Bernardino
  • Court Case Number: FWV17004018
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $35,331
  • Claimant: Tamara F. Green
  • Conviction: On 10/09/18, the claimant pleaded no contest to one felony count for violation of section 2101(a) of the Unemployment Insurance Code.
  • Sentence: The claimant paid the $35,331 restitution amount in full for the overpayment, plus a 30% administrative penalty for a total of $45,931. She was placed on summary probation for three years and her felony conviction was reduced to a misdemeanor.
  • Summary of Incident: The claimant failed to report her work and earnings while collecting Disability Insurance benefits on two claims.

March 2019

03/11/19 Disability Insurance Fraud Conviction and Sentencing
  • County: Los Angeles
  • Court Case Number: LA088001
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $51,139
  • Claimant: Carl A. Wren
  • Conviction: The claimant pleaded nolo contendere to one count for violation of section 530.5 (a) of the Penal Code.
  • Sentencing: The claimant was ordered to serve two days in the Los Angeles County Jail, perform 100 hours of community service, serve three years of summary probation, and pay full restitution of $51,139 to the EDD, which was paid at the time of sentencing. 
  • Summary of Incident: The claimant submitted false medical documents to the EDD to collect Disability Insurance benefits to which he was not entitled.
03/05/19 Unemployment Insurance Fraud Conviction
  • Federal District: Federal Court, Eastern District, Sacramento
  • Court Case Number: 2:16-CR-00199 GEB
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $972,318
  • Subject: Kioni Dogan
  • Conviction: The claimant pleaded guilty to one count for violation of United States Code Title 18 § 1349 – Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud
  • Sentence: Sentence is scheduled for a future date.
  • Summary of Incident: From 2010 through 2015, the claimant and her co‑conspirators perpetrated a fictitious employer scheme alleging that various persons were employed by that entity. The claimant and a co-defendant subsequently filed Unemployment Insurance claims in the names of the alleged employees and collected fraudulent benefits in their own names and in the names of other alleged employees. This case was a mutual investigation by the EDD, the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
  • Media Release: The United States Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of California, issued a media release describing the conviction including a second conspiracy to submit false claims for federal income tax refunds: https://www.justice.gov/usao-edca/pr/stockton-woman-pleads-guilty-two-separate-fraud-conspiracies

February 2019

02/21/19 Unemployment Insurance Fraud Sentencing
  • County: Federal Eastern District Court, Sacramento
  • Court Case Number: 2:17-CR-0060 MCE
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $353,458 (claimant’s portion of $887,199 total for five co- conspirators)
  • Claimant: Gregory Wayne Lee
  • Conviction: On 09/06/18, the claimant pleaded guilty to one felony count of section 1349, Title 18, of the United States Code (conspiracy to commit mail fraud); and one felony count of section 1028A, Title 18, of the United States Code (aggravated identity theft).
  • Sentence: On 02/21/19, the claimant was sentenced to 108 months imprisonment and ordered to pay $353,458 in restitution.
  • Summary of Incident: The claimant is a co-conspirator in an identity theft scheme involving over 250 victims. Charges are still pending against the other conspirators. Between 12/12/14 and 07/14/16, the claimant and others 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 at least 269 false claims attempting to obtain $2.5 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.
02/20/19 Employment Tax Fraud Conviction
  • County: Alameda
  • Court Case Number: 18-CR-002366
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $165,962 
  • Employer: Leonid Molchanov DBA Attic Pros, Inc.
  • Conviction: The employer pleaded guilty to one felony count, each, of section 2117.5 of the Unemployment Insurance Code, section 487(a) of the Penal Code, and section 11760(a) of the Insurance Code.
  • Sentence: Sentencing is scheduled on a future date.
  • Summary of Incident: The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office conducted a joint criminal investigation with the EDD Investigation Division against the employer for payroll tax evasion and Workers’ Compensation Insurance fraud. The employer paid his statutory employees by check and issued Internal Revenue Service forms 1099 reporting employee wages to the EDD that were less than actually paid. Investigation revealed that the employer underreported $2,768,957 in wages to the EDD for the period from 01/01/14 through 03/31/17. 
02/06/19 Unemployment Insurance Fraud Conviction
  • County: Tulare
  • Court Case Number: VCF361408
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $4,500
  • Claimant: Jessica Brown
  • Conviction: The claimant pleaded guilty to two felony counts for violation of section 530.5 of the Penal Code.
  • Sentence: Sentencing is scheduled on a future date.
  • Summary of Incident: The claimant submitted claims for Unemployment and Disability Insurance benefits based on the identities of other individuals. 
02/06/19 Disability Insurance Fraud Conviction and Sentence
  • County: Los Angeles County
  • Court Case Number: PA091463
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $75,000
  • Claimant: Indelisa Sandoval
  • Conviction: The claimant pleaded guilty to felony violation of section 2101(a) of the Unemployment Insurance Code.
  • Sentence: The claimant was sentenced to perform 90 days of community labor and was ordered to pay restitution of $75,000 to the EDD that was received on the date of sentence. The claimant will also be placed on three years of probation. 
  • Summary of Incident: The claimant submitted forged medical documents and failed to report her work and earnings to the EDD while receiving Disability Insurance benefits.

January 2019

01/10/19 Unemployment Insurance Fraud Convictions and Sentencing
  • County: Los Angeles, United States Central District
  • Court Case Number: 2:15-cr-00499-JAK-1
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $4,861,038
  • Claimants: Jack Benjamin Hessiani, James Manuel Herrera, Eduardo Josue Garcia, Daniel Ayala-Mora
  • Convictions: On the dates shown below, each of three claimant defendants pleaded to one count of United States Code, Title 18, Section 1341, Mail Fraud, Aiding And Abetting Causing An Act To Be Done;
    • 08/23/18, Jack Hessiani, sentenced on 01/10/19
    • 01/10/19, James Herrera, sentence pending
    • 01/10/19, Eduardo Garcia, sentence pending
    • 04/28/16, Daniel Ayala-Mora (possible change of plea filed). This defendant also pleaded guilty to one count of United States Code, Title 18, Section 1029(a)(2), Use Of Unauthorized Access Devices.
  • Sentence: 
    • On 01/31/19, Jack Hessiani was sentenced to 14 years in federal prison. Additional stipulations are to be decided in a later hearing.
    • Sentences are pending for the three other defendants.
  • Summary of Incident: Hessiani and his brother, James Herrera, created fictitious businesses after which they and others submitted reports to the EDD of false wages for non-existent employees, including individuals who had agreed to provide their personal identifying information in exchange for a portion of the Unemployment Insurance benefits. Hessiani then submitted approximately 725 Unemployment Insurance claims in the names of 384 alleged “employees” purporting them to have been laid off.
  • Media Release: The United States Attorney’s Office issued a news release.
01/04/19 Disability Insurance Fraud Conviction and Sentencing
  • County: Los Angeles
  • Court Case Number: BA386927
  • Amount Due to the EDD: $29,435
  • Claimant: Sharron Lashaun Ward
  • Conviction: The claimant previously pleaded to one felony count for violation of section 2101(a) of the Unemployment Insurance Code and one felony count for violation of section 487(a) of the Penal Code.
  • Sentence: On 01/04/19, the claimant was sentenced to five years of formal probation with a confirmed completion of 200 hours of community service as a pre-condition to sentencing, was ordered to pay court fines and fees, and was ordered to pay restitution to the EDD. The conviction may be reduced to misdemeanor violations if the claimant continues to pay restitution pending review for compliance in a probation hearing scheduled during the year 2020.
  • Summary of Incident: The claimant filed two Disability Insurance claims containing the forged signatures of two doctors and failed to report her work and earnings while collecting benefits.