Gang Member Received $30,000 in Unemployment Checks While in Jail

On the dole before parole

ANCHOR: A stunning accusation about a gang member who was convicted of murder after tattooing the crime scene on his chest. Tonight, detectives say that man managed to cash unemployment checks while he was behind bars, and that money was used to finance gang activity. Olga Ospina has the story from Whittier.

OSPINA: Prosecutors say it was quite a scheme. Anthony Garcia, a gang member convicted of murder after investigators discovered details of the crime tattooed on his chest, collected $30,000 in unemployment checks from the state while he sat in jail awaiting trial.

OFFICICIAL: It appears he started to apply while in jail. He had his father and girlfriends go and collect the checks and cash them. Then they’d send the money to the county jail either to the defendant, who was a gang member, or to the other gang members from his gang.

OSPINA: Juan Garcia, Sandra Jaimez, and Cynthia Limas all pled not guilty in a Whittier courtroom today. They face charges including second-degree burglary, conspiracy to commit grand theft, and unemployment fraud. The three are being held on bail.

OFFICIAL: It’s just a horrible example of how we’re wasting money and not keeping track of it. We’re giving money away to criminals in jail.

OSPINA: The incident came to light during the course of the murder investigation. But the D.A.’s office also discovered this kind of crime isn’t that uncommon.

OFFICIAL: It appears that this is not just an isolated case. It appears that this is a rampant fraud taking place in our county jails and probably the prisons and county jails across the state.

OSPINA: And most alarming, the D.A. says the state has no effective methods to detect and prevent these fraudulent crimes.

Published under: Crime Blotter , Fraud