Riverside County woman convicted in $1 million unemployment fraud scheme

A Riverside County woman was sentenced this week to 4.5 years in prison for her role in the scam of California’s unemployment insurance benefits program of more than $1.1 million, the authorities announced. authorities.

Catrina Gipson, 47, of Moreno Valley, was sentenced in federal court in Los Angeles on Thursday, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Gipson was also ordered to pay $1,106,282 in restitution.

Gipson pleaded guilty last summer to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and one count of aggravated impersonation.

Prosecutors said Gipson was the ringleader of a scheme in which she and her relatives received bogus unemployment claims from bogus companies they registered with the California Employment Development Department.

Between 2013 and 2016, Gipson recruited friends and family to run the shell companies and their bogus unemployment claims, authorities said. They routed mail from bogus retail companies through multiple post office boxes and withdrew their unemployment benefits – issued via EDD debit cards – using different banks.

Some of the claims were made on behalf of Gipson, others on behalf of his seven accomplices, authorities said. At least nine claims were made on behalf of inmates, who were serving time when they were allegedly fired, according to court records. One individual had been incarcerated since 2000.

Gipson and his accomplices were arrested in 2020. Vernisha Jolivet, 30, who was named a co-conspirator, also pleaded guilty to a single count of wire fraud in connection with the case and was sentenced to six months in jail.

The other six defendants are expected to be tried this spring.

Los Angeles Times

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