Four Men Charged with Fraudulently Obtaining over $2.3 Million in Unemployment Benefits
Las Vegas, Nev. – Four men have been indicted by the federal grand jury on conspiracy and fraud charges for unlawfully obtaining millions of dollars in unemployment benefits from the State of Nevada and federal government, announced Daniel G. Bogden, United States Attorney for the District of Nevada.
Francisco Garcia, 40, Eloy Garcia, 32, Efrain Garcia, 40, and Nabor Garcia, 32, all of Las Vegas, are each charged in an indictment returned by the Federal Grand Jury on September 14, 2010, and unsealed on September 22, 2010, with one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and 21 counts of mail fraud.
Additionally, Francisco Garcia is charged with four counts of money laundering and six counts of false representation of a Social Security Number; Eloy Garcia is charged with one count of money laundering and making a false declaration in and in relation to a bankruptcy proceeding; and Nabor Garcia is charged with one count of money laundering.
Francisco Garcia and Nabor Garcia were arrested in Las Vegas on Wednesday, September 22, 2010, and are scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge George W. Foley at 3:00 p.m. today. Efrain Garcia and Eloy Garcia have not yet been arrested, and are at large.
The indictment alleges that from about November 2007 to September 2009, the defendants recruited undocumented persons (claimants) with the promise that they could help them obtain unemployment benefits through the State of Nevada (State), even though the claimants were not entitled to the benefits. In exchange, the defendants were to receive a portion of any benefits that they obtained for the claimants. The defendants obtained the necessary personal identifying information and work history from the claimants, and then submitted fraudulent claims for unemployment benefits through the State's unemployment benefit telephone hotline and website. If the State sent the claimant an affidavit to establish identity (done when it was unable to match the claimant's social security number to Nevada DMV records,) the defendants submitted a false notarized affidavit of identity.
When the unemployment claims were accepted, the State provided the benefits through debit cards or checks mailed to addresses that the defendants controlled. The defendants allegedly told the claimants that their unemployment claims were not accepted, when in fact they had been. In some cases, the defendants allegedly provided the claimants with a portion of the benefits, and told the claimants that their claims had stopped paying, when in fact the State had continued to pay the claims.
As a result of the conspiracy, the defendants are alleged to have fraudulently obtained over $2.3 million in unemployment benefits through the State of Nevada.
The indictment also alleges that defendant Franciso Garcia laundered the monies from the unemployment compensation benefit scheme by purchasing four homes in Las Vegas between January 2008 and May 2009 (one of which was also purchased with defendant Eloy Garcia), and that defendant Nabor Garcia also laundered monies from the scheme by purchasing a home in Las Vegas on May 15, 2009.
The maximum penalties for conspiracy to commit mail fraud or mail fraud are 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The maximum penalties for money laundering are 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The maximum penalties for making a false declaration in a bankruptcy proceeding and false representation of a social security number are five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The public is reminded that an indictment contains only charges and is not evidence of guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial at which the government has the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The investigation is being conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor Office of the Inspector General, IRS Criminal Investigation, the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the U.S. Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General. The State of Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation, Employment Security Division, also assisted in the investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Nicholas D. Dickinson and Kathryn C. Newman.