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March 8, 2012

Three Charged in Unemployment-check Scam that Benefited County Jail Inmates

Filed under: California Defense Attorney — Tags: , , — fayarfa @ 4:48 am

WHITTIER – Prosecutors today filed charges against a man and two women who allegedly obtained more than $20,000 in unemployment benefits for an LA County jail inmate awaiting trial for murder and other incarcerated gang members.

The defendants allegedly executed the scheme by submitting false unemployment insurance claims and cashing biweekly checks from the California Employment Development Department (EDD) for almost two years before the crimes came to light.

District Attorney Steve Cooley said EDD and other public
assistance programs without adequate integrity components become sources of free money for criminals who devise illicit scams to rip
off taxpayer money.

“It’s no wonder the state is facing such financial difficulties,” Cooley said. “Taxpayer money is being given away to criminals and others who don’t deserve these benefits. The most alarming element is that the state does not have effective methods to detect and prevent fraudulent claims.”

Juan Leonard Garcia, 47 (dob 6/3/64), of Pico Rivera, Sandra
Muro Jaimez, 45 (dob 12/28/66), of Downey, and Cynthia Limas, 25 (dob 9/21/86), of Menifee, are expected to be arraigned today in Department 1 of Whittier Superior Court. They are charged in
case No. VA123878.

Garcia is charged with 13 counts of second-degree commercial burglary and two counts of false statement, representation or concealment. Jaimez is charged with eight counts of second-degree commercial burglary, three counts of false statement, representation or concealment and one count of possession for sale of a controlled substance, methamphetamine. Limas, Garcia and Jaimez face one count each of conspiracy to commit grand theft.

The criminal complaint includes allegations that the offenses were committed for the benefit of, at the direction of, and in association with a criminal street gang and that the offenses warrant prison custody time to be served in state prison.

Garcia is the father of Anthony Garcia, 25, a Rivera 13 gang member convicted of murder last year who is currently serving a prison sentence of 65 years to life. Garcia’s son became a suspect in a
Pico Rivera shooting death when a tattoo on his chest – illustrating
the killing – caught the attention of investigators, helping them
piece together the crime. Jaimez and Limas are girlfriends of
the incarcerated man.

From October 2008 to August 2010, the three defendants received and cashed biweekly unemployment checks and twice submitted change of address forms on behalf of the younger Garcia who was ineligible to receive EDD due to his on-going incarceration, prosecutors said.

The defendants allegedly shared the proceeds with each other, the younger Garcia and other gang members in LA County jail.

Prosecutors recommended that bail be set at $900,000 for Garcia, $730,000 for Jaimez and $60,000 for Limas.

If convicted as charged, Garcia faces a maximum of 30 years, four months in state prison. Jaimez faces a maximum state prison term of 25 years, four months and Limas could be sentenced to a prison term of up to seven years.

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