A prisoner of the San Quentin prison in California, Scott Peterson, who was jailed for the death of his wife and unborn child, has been said to receive unemployment aids in the last few months. This fraud was uncovered by a group of state and federal lawyers who have been paying attention to the inconsistencies going on in the pandemic relief system that is being conducted by the state Employment Development Department (EDD), LA Times reports.
Another prisoner who was confirmed for an unemployment debit card is Isauro Aguirre. He was sentenced to death in 2018 for the death of an 8-year-old boy, Gabriel Fernandez.
The district and federal lawyers, 10 altogether, called on Gov. Gavin Newsom to make sure such unemployment frauds going on in the California prisons come to an end. This fraud will involve hundreds of millions of dollars, even though they are not sure if the prisoners are the victims or participants in this scam.
Scott Peterson’s lawyer, Patt Harris, said he was sure that his client is not included in the fraud and further investigation will prove him innocent.
The district lawyers in a letter addressed to Gov. Newsom called the situation “The most significant fraud on taxpayer funds in California history.” They went further to say the illegal practices involved the impersonation and involvement of prisoners and other groups who take advantage of the state system, NY Times writes.
The US attorney for the Eastern District of California, McGregory Scott, said this is a clear situation and cannot be turned a blind eye to. He said the government must ensure that actions are taken to provide a solution. State lawyers suggested that the government adopt the method used by other states to curb unemployment fraud. Other states use systems to inspect prisoners’ data against unemployment claims.
The EDD has been said to be slow in their response to these queries. This has been a known fact among the lawyers who are involved in the investigation of this fraud. Newsom on Tuesday said the fraud cannot be accepted, and that he is going to deploy his task force to help the district lawyers in their investigations.
Many people have raised their voices against fraud of this magnitude. People eligible to receive unemployment aids must be job seekers and prisoners are ineligible for this.