Politics California prisoners, death row inmates involved in $1B pandemic unemployment fraud: officials

18:50  25 november  2020
18:50  25 november  2020 Source:   thehill.com

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Nov. 24 (UPI) -- Inmates in California received $ 1 billion in pandemic unemployment aid through fraudulent claims, a group of district attorneys and federal prosecutors announced Tuesday. Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said that a multi-agency investigation

California taxpayers have been bilked out of hundreds of millions of dollars — possibly even $ 1 billion — this year, that Authorities believe prison gangs may also be involved in some instances of large-scale Other notorious convicts named as recipients of the unemployment funds include death row

California prisoners and death row inmates were involved in fraud schemes totaling as much as $1 billion in stolen pandemic unemployment aid, officials said Tuesday.

a bird perched on top of a metal fence: Prison fence © Getty Images Prison fence

Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said inmates in every California prison and in jails across the state filed 35,000 unemployment claims, according to NBC News. More than $140 million has already been paid out.

"Quite frankly, the inmates are mocking us," Schubert said, according to Fox 5 San Diego. Combined losses "may well amount to upwards of a billion dollars having already been paid in their names."

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Officials say more than 35,000 prisoners have filed claims during the pandemic . Scott Peterson received Covid unemployment benefits from the state of California despite being on death row for Employment Development Department officials , who handle benefits in California , say that privacy

Thousands of inmates throughout California -- including death row inmates -- may have While 35 other states have such a program, California does not. Death row inmates ' names linked to scam. For the prisoners , being involved in a fraud such as this would mean even more legal trouble, and

At least 158 claims were filed for 133 death row inmates, she added. About $420,000 have been paid out.

Once the final amount of losses is totaled, Schubert said, it will likely be "one of the biggest frauds of taxpayer dollars in California history."

Schubert and other officials said the California Employment Development Department compounded the problem because it do not check the claims against a list of prison inmates. Prosecutors said they asked California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) to intervene.

"Unemployment fraud across local jails and state and federal prisons is absolutely unacceptable," Newsom said in a statement to NBC 4 Los Angeles. He added that the state would "continue to fully partner with law enforcement and direct as many resources as needed to investigate and resolve this issue speedily."

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Tens of thousands of prison and jail inmates , including convicted serial killers and notorious Among them were 133 of the state’s 700 death row inmates , including convicted criminals like Cary Stayner She said the fraud could be carried out because unlike 35 other states, California lacks a system that

CALIFORNIA has paid out unemployment benefits to about 20,000 inmates including murderer Scott Peterson in what investigators are calling “the most significant fraud on taxpayer funds” in the state’s history. Death row and other inmates across the state’s 38 prisons together received more than

Loree Levy, deputy director of the Employment Development Department, told NBC News that the agency is "pursuing how to integrate such cross-matches moving forward as part of enhanced prevention efforts during this unprecedented time of pandemic-related unemployment fraud across the country."

Authorities said that Scott Peterson, who was convicted in 2004 for murdering his pregnant wife, was among those involved with the scheme. Prosecutors did not disclose how much money was associated with Peterson's unemployment claim, according to NBC 4 Los Angeles, due to an ongoing investigation.

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