SACRAMENTO- On April 19, 2021, Andrea M. Gervais, 44, of Roseville, pleaded guilty to theft of government money in a scheme involving 97 fraudulent Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claims in the names of persons other than her own.
According to court documents, at least 10 of 97 fraudulent PUA claims were processed for payment, and nearly $200,000 in unemployment insurance and PUA benefits were paid out to Gervais’s Roseville address in the form of Bank of America debit cards. The potential value of all fraudulent 97 claims associated with the scheme exceeded $2 million.
The investigation began when federal agents discovered that someone had filed a PUA claim using the identity of a sitting U.S. senator for approximately $21,000. This fraudulent claim was processed for payment, and Gervais received an EDD debit card in the senator’s name. Agents further discovered that Bank of America ATM cameras captured Gervais on multiple occasions withdrawing cash from at least seven of the EDD debit cards, and at least one captured transaction showed Gervais using the debit card issued to the senator.
This case is the product of an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor – Office of the Inspector General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the California Employment Development Department – Investigation Division.
“Law enforcement officers investigating unemployment fraud have quite a task in front of them,” said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona. “I applaud their work and I am appalled by the sheer numbers of people, who during an unprecedented time of pain and suffering, made a conscious decision to scam a system that is in place to help citizens during the difficult time of unemployment.”
Gervais remains on pretrial release as she awaits sentencing. She is scheduled to be sentenced on Aug. 9th. Gervais faces a maximum statutory penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.