Three former Oakland residents, accused of using stolen identities to defraud the State of California of disability insurance benefits are facing decades in prison if convicted. Jermila McCoy, 32, Zeffrey Cain, 38, and Timnesha Wilson, 21, have pleaded not guilty to the charges they defrauded EDD in excess of $1.5 million.
"This has to anger the hard working citizens of California and those truly in need of disability insurance benefits," said Alan Barcelona, president of the California Statewide Law Enforcement Association. "When investigators from various government agencies team up, share information and work together, this is the outcome - arrests, prosecutions and convictions if found guilty."
According to an indictment by a federal grand jury in Sacramento, the three suspects used stolen identities of individuals throughout California to file for disability benefits with the California Employment Development Department (EDD). In order to certify their claims, they allegedly used the stolen identities of doctors throughout the State of California. Many of the doctors whose identities were used do not certify any disability claims as part of their practice. For example, one doctor works at a state prison and only treats inmates as part of her practice.
After the suspects fraudulently filed and certified their claims, they collected the disability benefits by having them sent to their preferred addresses, not to the individuals whose identities they had stolen. More than 250 stolen identities were used and more than $1.5 million in fraudulent benefits was received.
This case was investigated by the United States Postal Inspection Service, the United States Marshals Service, and the California Employment Development Department, Criminal Investigations.
If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Their next court date is scheduled for December 18, 2014.