Incarceration can lead to the loss of several important rights…but not the right to internet access. Which is what enabled Telvin Breaux to electronically submit to the California Employment Development Department more than 400 false claims totaling almost $25 million.
Breaux was the ringleader of this elaborate unemployment benefit scheme. A position he held while incarcerated at the California Correctional Institution in Tehachapi. From the comfort of his prison cell, Breaux stole identities from his fellow inmates, submitted fraudulent claims to the Employment Development Department of California and controlled the distribution of the proceeds. But a fraudster is only as good as his network, especially while in jail. Breaux had a team of co-conspirators built from a network of family and friends that supplied all the external support needed for his scheme. Along with stealing more identities from the hospitals, dentists’ offices, and other businesses that they worked at, the team counted with a cash counting machine millions of dollars fraudulently received and stored them in safety deposit boxes.
More than half of the 400 claims were approved, amounting to about $5.4 million fraudulent payments that Breaux received. But these fraudulent funds weren’t blown at the state commissary. Breaux rewarded his team of family and friends for their hard work spending the proceeds on rent, luxury vehicles, trips to Las Vegas, jewelry, designer handbags, high-end furniture, and tuition.
Breaux is scheduled to be sentenced on March 18, 2024
Great job by the California COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Strike Force operation
Today’s Fraud of The Day is based on article “Ringleader orchestrating millions stolen from EDD hatched plan from Tehachapi cell, feds say” published by Tehachapi News on September 11, 2023
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The mastermind leading seven people to submit more than 400 false California Employment Development Department claims, collecting millions for luxury vehicles and jewelry, carried out his plan while locked up in Tehachapi’s California Correctional Institution by tracking everything on hard-copy ledgers, according to federal prosecutors.
Telvin Breaux, 31, pleaded guilty Monday to two counts of aggravated identity theft and a single count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud. The EDD could have distributed nearly $25 million of taxpayer’s money if each of the 400 claims were approved, a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Eastern District said, but only $5.4 million was handed out of which some wasn’t distributed to the defendants.