An ex-employee at California's employment agency in Anaheim was slapped today with a federal prison sentence of 76 months--or more than six years--for taking more than $40,000 in kickbacks in exchange for issuing more than a half-million dollars in unemployment insurance checks to people who were not eligible. In addition to the prison time, U.S. District Court Judge David O. Carter in Santa Ana ordered 31-year-old David Paul Holden of Corona to pay $510,454 in restitution.
At the Anaheim EDD office, Holden processed unemployment insurance claims and had access to the agency's electronic database for approving claims and making payments of both state and federal unemployment benefits.
In May, Holden copped to conspiracy and bribery for orchestrating the kickback scheme that had four recruiters, who now face federal conspiracy and embezzlement counts, finding 50 people who swapped Social Security numbers for unemployment checks. A cut then went to the EDD worker.
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"Corrupt public officials such as Mr. Holden undermine confidence in taxpayer-funded programs, especially those designed to help people in need," said U.S. Attorney André Birotte Jr. in a statement. "This sentence sends a message that neither the Department of Justice nor the community will tolerate the abuse of our public institutions."
Some of those who received benefits through Holden's scam were already employed, had voluntarily quit their jobs or had been terminated for misconduct.
Six recruiters Holden used have also have pleaded guilty in the scheme. They are: Narciso Rodriguez, 29, of Riverside; Patricia Cordova, 31, of Anaheim; Ulysses Hernandez, 25, of Fontana; Zaharid Hernandez, 26, of Bloomington; Cristobal Salgado, 26, of Moreno Valley; and Melissa Salgado, 25, of Moreno Valley.