“California DOJ special agents and state investigators are continuing to identify and arrest those who fraudulently applied for, and obtained, unemployment benefits early on in the pandemic when EDD was overloaded with applications and trying to process payments as quickly as possible to assist California families. These investigations can be complicated and take much time, but it is important that those who abused this assistance program, be prosecuted for their alleged crimes.” – CSLEA President Alan Barcelona
SACRAMENTO – On October 19, 2022, California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced the arrest of and charges against Brandy Iglesias who allegedly filed and collected more than $145,000 in fraudulent unemployment benefits from California’s Employment Development Department (EDD).
Iglesias is alleged to have fraudulently collected benefits between 2020 and 2021 in both her own name, as well as through the identities of convicted murderers Scott Peterson and Cary Stayner. Peterson and Stayner have been incarcerated at San Quentin State Prison since 2005 and 2002, respectively.
Inglesias has been charged with multiple counts of felony grand theft and forgery. The arrest is the result of a multiagency investigation, involving the California Department of Justice (DOJ), the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), and the California Employment Development Department (EDD).
“Don’t let the infamous names distract you from who this crime really hurt — the most vulnerable in our society,” said Attorney General Rob Bonta. “EDD theft hurts families in need, parents left without jobs during a pandemic, and Californians struggling to get by. That’s why I’m thankful for my agents, and for our partners in the EDD and CDCR, for their work together on this case.”
"This case sends another strong message that EDD holds identity thieves and fraudsters accountable for their crimes,” said EDD Director Nancy Farias. “We appreciate the tireless work of EDD’s investigations staff and our law enforcement partners investigating this complex case. EDD will continue to work closely with law enforcement agencies and prosecutors to hold accountable criminals who stole identities and defrauded the unemployment system."
The criminal complaint alleges that the thefts were carried out from April 2020 to September 2021. The investigation revealed that the suspect was employed by a private company that contracted with the prison, and through her employment she may have gained access to prisoners’ personal information.
Iglesias was arrested on October 15, 2022 by a team of CDCR agents in Contra Costa County and taken into custody. California DOJ’s Criminal Law Division, Special Prosecutions Section, is prosecuting the case. Iglesias was arraigned on October 19, 2022 in Sacramento County Superior Court.
A copy of the complaint can be found here.