SACRAMENTO— On December 30, 2015, a federal grand jury indicted Deborah Hollimon, 39, of Stockton, charging her with unemployment fraud and aggravated identity theft. Hollimon allegedly collected more than a half million dollars in benefits in a three year period by operating "fictitious employers" and submitting unemployment claims in her name and the names of fake laid-off employees.
"These benefits are meant for workers who are unemployed to help them as they seek work," said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona. "Investigators within the California Employment Development Department track down those who fraudulently collect unemployment and work with other departments to bring these thieves to justice."
According to court documents, between September 2012 and September 2015, Hollimon created employers with the California Employment Development Department (EDD) that were entirely fictitious and did not conduct any business. Hollimon then caused the submission of information to the EDD falsely indicating that various persons, including herself and various unwitting victims of identity theft, were employed by the fictitious entities. Hollimon subsequently filed unemployment claims for herself and for fake laid-off employees. The fraudulent unemployment insurance benefits were usually mailed to an address controlled by Hollimon.
This case was investigated by the Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, the California Employment Development Department – Investigations Division, and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
On December 30th, the day a federal grand jury returned an 11-count indictment against Hollimon, Hollimon’s whereabouts were unknown. She has resided in Stockton and West Memphis, Arkansas.
If convicted, Hollimon faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. She also faces a mandatory minimum two years in prison for aggravated identity theft, which would run consecutive to any other sentence imposed