A Yorba Linda man was charged Friday with fraudulently collecting nearly $600,000 in unemployment insurance benefits using more than 200 stolen identities, federal prosecutors said.
Jeffrey Silhanek faces two counts of mail fraud for the alleged theft of benefits from the California Employment Development Department, or EDD, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. The EDD runs the federally funded unemployment insurance benefit program for California residents.
Silhanek, 39, used identities he stole to open P.O. boxes and then used the identities and accompanying addresses to file claims for unemployment insurance benefits, federal prosecutors allege.
The claims were made without the knowledge or consent of those whose identities were stolen, according to prosecutors. He allegedly made it appear as if the claimants had been laid off, which would have made them eligible for benefits.
He had the EDD send benefit checks and debit cards to the P.O. boxes that were opened, according to prosecutors.
The state department’s losses as a result of Silhanek’s alleged fraud amount to at least $586,000, authorities estimate.
He is scheduled to be arraigned in court on July 8.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General.