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2 California prison inmate pleads guilty to $100,000 COVID fund fraud

New IdentityTheft Scam

SACRAMENTO — A California prison inmate pleaded guilty Monday to conspiring to steal more than $100,000 in unemployment benefits designed to help those who lost their jobs during the coronavirus pandemic — one of numerous such thefts that authorities say have totaled more than $810 million.

Alana Powers, 45, an inmate at the Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla, and Jason Vertz, 51, of Fresno, each pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and aggravated identity theft.

Prosecutors said emails and recorded phone calls show Powers and other prison inmates provided Vertz with the personal identifying information he needed to submit the unemployment applications.

The applications said the inmates had worked as maids, cleaners, welders and in other occupations. However, none were eligible for the benefits because they were in prison.

Source: on 2021-04-13 13:59:29

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