3 Miami women sentenced to prison for California EDD fraud

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Three Miami women were sentenced to federal prison for filing fraudulent claims for unemployment benefits in the names of California identity theft victims, the Justice Department announced Tuesday.

Bonia Bon and Bonize Bon, who are 32-year-old twin sisters, and Eldia Dieujuste, 32, were each sentenced Monday to one year and one day in federal prison, according to a news release from the United States Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California.

The defendants were also ordered to pay $104,570 in restitution to the California Employment Development Department by U.S. District Judge Christina A. Snyder.

The Bons and Dieujuste each pleaded guilty last year to mail fraud in connection with their scheme that defrauded the state’s Employment Development Department.

In a sentencing memorandum filed with the court, prosecutors said the women stole “monies that were intended to be used to help persons who had lost their jobs through no fault of their own” by exploiting “the mechanisms put in place by EDD to help unemployed workers more easily apply for these benefits – for example, on-line applications and rapid processing of applications.” 

Between January 2018 and June 2019, the Bons and Dieujuste used the personal information of California residents to file 34 fraudulent claims seeking at least $494,190 in unemployment benefits, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said. The women provided their own home addresses in Florida as the mailing addresses for the benefits, allowing debit cards with access to $104,570 in unemployment benefits to be mailed to them.

ATM surveillance photos captured images of the Bons and Dieujuste using the fraudulently obtained debit cards to withdraw the unemployment benefits in cash, officials said.

A fourth Miami resident, 29-year-old Gregory Bon, brother to the Bon twins, also faces conspiracy and mail fraud charges in the scheme. He has pleaded not guilty and is scheduled to go on trial on December 14 before the same judge.

The matter was investigated by the Department of Labor – Office of the Inspector General, EDD’s Investigations Division, Homeland Security Investigations, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the United States Secret Service.

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