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Press Release

Mother and Daughter Team Sentenced to Prison for Jailhouse Unemployment Insurance Fraud

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

FRESNO, Calif. — Makiah Miles, 30, of Compton, California, was sentenced yesterday to 21 months in prison and Apryl Weston, 51, of Santa Maria, California, was sentenced yesterday to 5 months in prison and 5 months home detention for submitting fraudulent unemployment insurance claims to the California Employment Development Department (EDD) in the names of inmates, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.

According to court documents, Miles was an inmate at the Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla, California, and Weston is her mother.  Miles had previously been convicted of DUI manslaughter. 

From June through December 2020, Miles obtained other inmates’ names, dates of birth, and social security numbers and sent that information to Weston to submit claims in those inmates’ identities as well as Miles’ own identity.  The underlying applications misrepresented that Miles and the other inmates worked as childcare providers, cosmetologists, hairdressers, and other occupations, that they last worked within the prior few months and recently became unemployed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and that they were currently available to work.  The fraudulent claims were worth nearly $250,000.

This case is the product of an investigation by FBI, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s Investigative Services Unit, and the EDD.  Assistant United States Attorney Joseph Barton is prosecuting the case.

This case is part of the California COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Strike Force, which is one of the interagency COVID-19 fraud strike forces established by the United States Department of Justice. The California Strike Force combines law enforcement and prosecutorial resources in the Eastern and Central Districts of California, and focuses on large-scale, multistate, and egregious pandemic relief fraud.  The strike force uses prosecutor-led, and data analyst-driven, teams to identify and bring to justice those who stole pandemic relief money.

Updated May 7, 2024