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Riverside County Woman to Plead Guilty to EDD Fraud

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LOS ANGELES—A former California Employment Development Department (EDD) employee from Riverside County has agreed to plead guilty to causing nearly 200 fraudulent COVID-related unemployment relief claims to be filed in other people’s names, resulting in more than $1.6 million in ill-gotten gains, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Sept. 8. Gabriela Llerenas, also known as Maria G. Sandoval, 49, signed a plea agreement filed Wednesday, in which she has agreed to plead guilty to a single count of mail fraud. Court records show that the Perris woman previously worked at the EDD as a disability insurance program representative. She resigned in March 2002 after admitting to fraudulently authorizing and paying disability benefits administered by EDD and was sentenced to 37 months in federal prison in connection with that scheme. The new scheme to which Llerenas has admitted took advantage of the expanded eligibility for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits made possible …

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