SAN DIEGO – On March 30, 2021, the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office announced criminal charges against three defendants who allegedly filed fraudulent claims to scam the state’s unemployment benefit system and received more than $1.3 million in illegal payments.
The fraud occurred between February and December 2020. The defendants allegedly applied for and received EDD Bank of America debit cards in other people’s names. The three are accused of using their three residential addresses in Escondido and five different post office boxes in Escondido, Carlsbad, and Vista to receive the EDD cards.
Working with investigators from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and California Employment Development Department (EDD), District Attorney investigators determined the defendants used the personal information of at least 64 prison inmates to fraudulently apply for and receive the unemployment benefits. California prison inmates are not eligible to receive EDD unemployment benefits.
“California EDD investigators, along with their state and local law enforcement partners, have a huge workload in front of them as they investigate the tremendous amount of unemployment benefits fraud that took place during this pandemic,” said California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) President Alan Barcelona. “It’s unfathomable, that during this time of pain and suffering for so many people, unscrupulous, greedy individuals cheated the system. But they are being identified, arrested, charged and prosecuted.”
The defendants are Ryan Kubista, 34; Maereichelle Marquez, 34; and Stacy Wright, 61. Charges include making false statement on an unemployment application, grand theft, acquiring access card account information, ID theft, forgery, and false personation. If convicted of all the charges, the defendants face a sentencing range of three to 12 years in prison.