News and Press Releases

Inland Empire Woman Indicted on Federal Charges in Identity Theft and Mail Fraud Scheme to Submit Fraudulent State Disability Claims

March 15, 2012

RIVERSIDE, California - A Riverside County woman has been charged with defrauding the State of California, Employment Development Department (EDD) by filing fraudulent disability claims and unemployment claims, using the identities of co-workers, family members and friends without their knowledge.

Maria Magdalena Rocha, 43, was indicted by a federal grand jury on March 7, 2012 in a 21-count federal indictment. The indictment, charges Rocha with 18 counts of mail fraud and 3 counts of aggravated identity theft.

Rocha turned herself in to federal authorities today and will be arraigned this afternoon in Federal Court in Riverside.

According to the indictment, from 2006 until early 2010, Rocha used the United States Postal Service to file approximately eighty-three fraudulent state disability claims and approximately twelve unemployment claims with the Employment Development Department (EDD) for the State of California.  Rocha completed the false claims using the personal identifying information of over fifty individuals, and submitted forged medical certifications of over thirty licensed physicians with the claims.  The EDD mailed checks to addresses controlled and/or used by Rocha.  As a result, the EDD suffered an actual dollar loss of approximately $283,626.29, with a potential dollar loss of approximately $1,613,801.87.

Mail fraud charges carry a potential maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison and aggravated identity theft charges carry a potential maximum sentence of 2 years, consecutively imposed for each count of conviction.

An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime.  A defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the California Employment Development Department.

Release No. 12-035

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