Officials explain how jailed killer got $30,000 in unemployment
Officials tried to explain how a convicted killer and his family allegedly collected nearly $30,000 in unemployment benefits while he sat in an L.A. jail.
"Certainly, being in prison would make an individual ineligible to receive unemployment benefits since he or she would not meet the requirement of being available to accept work," Dan Stephens, a spokesman for the Employment Development Department said in a statement. "As the charges in this case illustrate, there was a conspiracy with others to fraudulently collect benefits."
The father and two girlfriends of 26-year-old gang member Anthony Garcia, who is serving a 65-years-to-life sentence for murder, are accused of burglary, false statements and conspiracy to commit grand theft, according to prosecutors. Juan Garcia, 47, Sandra Jaimez, 45, and Cynthia Limas, 25, are due to appear in a Whittier court for arraignment Monday, prosecutors said.
No new charges were filed against the younger Garcia, who confessed to a 2004 murder outside a Pico Rivera liquor store after an investigator recognized the scene on his tattoo four years later. He is being held in Men’s Central Jail, according to the sheriff department’s inmate system.
The three defendants are accused of cashing checks from October 2008 to August 2010, and filing change of address forms on Garcia’s behalf, according to prosecutors. Some of the money was deposited to his jail account and also shared with other gang members, prosecutors said.
The three face a special allegation that the crime was committed for the benefit of a street gang, which could lead to heftier sentences, prosecutors said. Garcia, according to police, is a member of the Rivera-13 gang.
Prosecutors said Juan Garcia could face up to 30 years and four months in state prison. Jaimez and Limas, whom prosecutors said were both girlfriends of Anthony Garcia, face up to 25 years and four months, and seven years in prison, respectively.
Stephens said the Employment Development Department (EDD) tries to police against such alleged frauds.
"The EDD is committed to maintaining the integrity of the unemployment insurance program and working in partnership with law enforcement to detect, investigate, and punish offenders to the fullest extent of the law," he said in the statement. "The EDD does maintain and utilize a variety of processes, tools, and techniques to deter and detect fraud including several data cross matches, audits, and other systems to identify individuals who may be improperly or fraudulently collecting benefits."
-- Victoria Kim
Photo: Anthony Garcia. Credit: Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department