Trio Charged In $1.5 Million Disability Benefits Fraud Scheme
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Three former Oakland residents have been arraigned in Sacramento on charges of using stolen identities to defraud the State of California of disability insurance benefits, United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced.
Jermila McCoy, 32, and Zeffrey Cain, 38, were arraigned today, and Timnesha Wilson, 21, was arraigned on Wednesday, November 5, 2014. All three defendants entered pleas of not guilty. McCoy remains in custody, and both Cain and Wilson were released on bond. Their next court date is December 18, 2014, at 9:00 a.m. before United States District Judge Morrison C. England Jr.
According to the indictment returned by a federal grand jury in Sacramento on October 23, 2014, the defendants used stolen identities of individuals throughout California to file for disability benefits with the California Employment Development Department (EDD). The defendants then caused those disability benefits claims to be certified using the stolen identities of doctors throughout the State of California. Many of the doctors whose identities were used do not certify any disability claims as part of their practice. For example, one such doctor works at a state prison and only treats inmates as part of her practice. After a claim was filed and certified, the defendants received the fraudulent disability benefits at addresses they controlled. Over 250 stolen identities were used and over $1.5 million in fraudulent benefits was received.
This case is the product of an investigation by the United States Postal Inspection Service, the United States Marshals Service, and the California Employment Development Department, Criminal Investigations. Assistant United States Attorney Jared C. Dolan is prosecuting the case.
If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Any sentence, however, would be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables. The charges are only allegations; the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.