“Unemployment insurance benefits are in place to help those who have earned them. Stealing from this program hurts families who are struggling to make ends meet after the loss of a job. I applaud the individuals and agencies that investigate the on-going widespread crime of unemployment benefits fraud.” -CSLEA President Alan Barcelona
SACRAMENTO— On August 19, 2021, Deborah Shannell Hollimon, 44, of West Memphis, Arkansas, was sentenced to three years and two months in prison and ordered to pay $569,168 in restitution for a California state unemployment insurance benefits fraud and identity theft scheme.
According to court documents, from September 2012 through September 2015, Hollimon and others filed more than 100 fraudulent unemployment insurance claims with the California Employment Development Department (EDD) seeking approximately $882,991 using fictitious businesses. Hollimon created fictitious employers with EDD and then submitted information to EDD reporting employees for the fictitious businesses. Almost all of the individuals reported as employees of the companies were actually victims of identity theft. Hollimon subsequently filed unemployment claims in her own name and in the names of the fake employees in order to collect the benefits. Approximately $569,168 in benefits were paid out by EDD.
This case was the product of an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General and the California Employment Development Department. Assistant U.S. Attorney Shea J. Kenny prosecuted the case.