Massive scam sent COVID-19 unemployment benefits to California prisons

Massive scam sent COVID-19 benefits to California death-row inmates


  • Convicted killers and death row inmates received coronavirus unemployment benefits.
  • Almost $1 billion have been disbursed to ineligible beneficiaries.
  • California’s 38 prisons allegedly received $140 million.

While a lot of people have been dealing with the financial burdens brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, some have taken advantage of the government’s coronavirus unemployment benefits. Instead of helping each other get back on track, they chose to derail their recovery through a massive scam.

Convicted killers and death row inmates ended up becoming the beneficiaries of the state-administered unemployment benefits.

According to the LA Times, the massive scam was uncovered by nine local district attorneys, who described it as “the most significant fraud on taxpayer funds in California history.”

Prosecutors claim that the scam, which may have amounted to a total of nearly $1 billion, went to beneficiaries who were ineligible due to their imprisonment in Golden State prisons and jails.  

The involvement of prison gangs in gaming the fraud through large-scale organized schemes is also being looked into in relation to the scam.

Sacramento County DA Anne Marie Schubert, who helped in the discovery of the alleged racket, said inmates from California’s 38 prisons were sent more than $140 million.

Schubert declared, “The murderers and rapists and human traffickers should not be getting this money. It needs to stop.”

According to the investigation, more than $400,000 in state benefits were paid to death-row inmates. Scott Peterson, convicted of murdering his wife, Laci, and their unborn son was among the inmates in San Quentin State Prison who received unemployment pay.

How did the alleged con run? The prosecutor explained that some inmates, or their family and friends, directly submitted their claims. Other prisoners, meanwhile, were unsuspecting victims.

In a statement, California Gov. Gavin Newsom said, “Unemployment fraud across local jails and state and federal prisons is absolutely unacceptable.”

The governor has already formed a task force to investigate the alleged fraud. 


Source: New York Post

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