On August 17th, 2016

Sixth Conviction in $5 Million Unemployment Benefits Fraud Scheme Investigated by California EDD and Federal Investigators

CACISACRAMENTO - On August 15, 2016, a federal jury in Sacramento found Andre Antonio Walters, 36, of Long Beach, guilty of four counts of mail fraud in connection with an unemployment benefits fraud scheme that defrauded the California Employment Development Department (EDD) of more than $5 million.

According to evidence presented at the six-day trial, Walters was a “manager” in the scheme which from approximately 2008 to 2011. The scheme involved registering fictitious businesses with the state, listing “employees” as having earned wages at those fictitious businesses when in fact they had never worked there, and then filing for unemployment benefits on behalf of those “employees.” Walters recruited people to pose as these “employees,” managed their unemployment claims once filed, and split the resulting unemployment benefits checks that were mailed out of West Sacramento. According to the indictment, the scheme resulted in at least $5 million in fraudulently obtained unemployment benefits being disbursed by the state.

"Unemployment benefits are in place for those working individuals who  have lost their jobs and require assistance," said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona.  "To defraud EDD is stealing from workers who are dealing with being out of a job.  EDD investigators work with investigators from other state departments and the federal government to uncover this type of fraud."

This case was investigated by the United States Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General and the California EDD.

Among the  convicted in this fraud scheme:

  • Kenneth Kim Parks, 54, of Pomona, and of Long Beach, was sentenced to five years in prison,
  • Gregory Bart Martin, 35, of Lakewood, was sentenced to 18 months of probation,
  • Michael Ray Taylor Sr., 51, of Fontana, was sentenced to three years in prison;
  • and Michael Ray Taylor Jr., 31, of El Monte, is scheduled to be sentenced on November 17, 2016.

Walters is scheduled to be sentenced November 3, 2016. He  faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for each count of conviction.

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