Unemployment fraud ring filed bogus CA jobless benefits for inmates; 7 arrested, $150,000 seized: Officials

California
Jail inmates in San Mateo County were allegedly part of a fraud ring that bilked the state out of $250,000 in unemployment benefits. Pictured is a file photo of inmates.(Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times)

Jail inmates in San Mateo County were allegedly part of a fraud ring that bilked the state out of $250,000 in unemployment benefits. Pictured is a file photo of inmates.(Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times)

In California’s first major case involving unemployment fraud during the COVID-19 pandemic, authorities allege 21 people in Northern California were part of a fraud ring that stole $250,000 by submitting bogus claims on behalf of jail inmates.

The ring was allegedly operated out of the San Mateo County jail and discovered when law enforcement officers overheard inmates talking about fraudulent claims, officials said Monday.

Investigators with the county sheriff’s office and district attorney’s office discovered that fraudulent claims had allegedly been filed using the names of 30 inmates, according to sheriff’s Det. Rosemerry Blankswade.

On Saturday, investigators in San Mateo, San Francisco and San Joaquin counties served warrants and arrested seven people while confiscating $150,000 in cash. Fourteen others allegedly involved in the fraud ring were already in custody at the jail and were rebooked, Blankswade said.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

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