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Press Release

Former Gang Member and California State Inmate Receives Over Five Years in Federal Prison for His Role in $25 Million Unemployment Insurance Fraud Scheme

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of California

FRESNO, Calif. — Daryol Richmond, 31, who was formerly a gang member and inmate at the Kern Valley State Prison in Delano, California, where he was serving nineteen years for robbery, was sentenced today to five years and five months in federal prison for his role in a scheme to submit millions of dollars in fraudulent unemployment insurance claims to the California Employment Development Department (EDD) during the COVID-19 pandemic, United States Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.  Richmond is the first of the eight defendants charged in the case to plead guilty and be sentenced.

According to court records, Richmond obtained the personal identifying information for other individuals, including inmates and non-inmates, who did not authorize him to possess their information. He then provided this information to his co-conspirators inside and outside of prison through emails and jail calls, and caused the applications for the fraudulent claims to contain numerous misrepresentations. The misrepresentations included that the other individuals became unemployed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, were available to work, and had access to the mailing addresses listed in the applications. 

The fraudulent claims were worth up to $25 million and $5.5 million was actually paid out for the claims. At sentencing, Richmond was found to be responsible for $1.4 million and $382,000 of these amounts, respectively, and to be unaware of the full scope of the scheme. The money was used to buy vehicles, jewelry and other items.

This case is the product of an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, EDD, and Department of Labor Office of Inspector General. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Joseph Barton as part of the California COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Strike Force, which is one of three interagency COVID-19 fraud strike forces established by the Department of Justice.  The California Strike Force combines law enforcement and prosecutorial resources in the Eastern and Central Districts of California. This strike force focuses on large-scale, sophisticated relief fraud perpetrated by criminal organizations and transnational actors.  The strike forces are interagency law enforcement efforts, using prosecutor-led and data analyst-driven teams designed to identify and bring to justice those who stole pandemic relief funds.

The remaining defendants who were charged along with Richmond are currently pending trial. They are: Telvin Breaux, 29, who is an inmate at the California Correctional Institution in Tehachapi; Holly White, 30, of Los Angeles; Cecelia Allen, 33, of Downey; Fantasia Brown, 33, of Los Angeles; Tonisha Brown, 28, of Los Angeles; Fantesia Davis, 32, of Victorville; and Shanice White, 28, of Hawthorne.  The charges against these defendants are only allegations and they are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Updated December 21, 2022

Health Care Fraud