In November of 2020, a group of state and federal prosecutors who had been investigating the state of California’s Employment Development Department for COVID-19 Cares Act fraud, announced that not only tens of thousands of questionable claims were approved, but that the total amount fraudulently paid was nearing hundreds of millions of dollars. (Side note, two years later, the numbers for California alone in fraudulent COVID-19 benefits are over $20 billion.)
This group of prosecutors also announced that 35,000 claims had been filed on behalf of state prison inmates, a group ineligible to receive benefits due to being incarcerated. Most notorious of the prisoners, Scott Peterson, convicted of killing his wife and unborn son, was supposedly sent California unemployment benefits. So was convicted serial killer Cary Stayner, who in 1999 murdered two women and two girls near Yosemite and now is jailed, near Peterson, on death row.
Peterson’s sister-in-law, Janey Peterson, said at the time that he unfairly became the “poster child” for the national story, and his attorney said he would be cleared of having any part in the fraud. Well, he was.
On October 19, 2022, Brandy Iglesias was arrested and arraigned in Sacramento County Superior Court for allegedly filing and collecting more than $145,000 in unemployment benefits using the identities of Peterson and Stayner, as well as her own. Between 2020 and 2021, Iglesias received $18,562 with Peterson’s name, and $20,194 with Stayner’s.
Prosecutors said Iglesias worked for a private company that contracted with San Quentin State Prison where she was able to obtain access to prisoners’ personal information. The reasons Iglesias chose the two most famous criminals in California is not yet known! Maybe she will share her reasons in her trial.
Shout out to the COVID-19 Fraud Strike Force Team with the investigation of this case.
Today’s Fraud of The Day is based on an article “Woman collected $145,000 in jobless benefits using names of death row inmates Scott Peterson, Cary Stayner” published by LA Times on October 20, 2022
A Sacramento woman has been charged with multiple counts of felony grand theft and forgery after she allegedly collected more than $145,000 in unemployment benefits using the identities of convicted killers Scott Peterson and Cary Stayner, the state attorney general’s office announced Wednesday. From April 2020 to September 2021, Brandy Iglesias allegedly filed and collected unemployment benefits from the California Employment Development Department using the names of Peterson and Stayner.
“Don’t let the infamous names distract you from who this crime really hurt — the most vulnerable in our society,” California Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta said in a statement. “EDD theft hurts families in need, parents left without jobs during a pandemic, and Californians struggling to get by. That’s why I’m thankful for my agents, and for our partners in the EDD and CDCR, for their work together on this case.”