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Massive unemployment insurance fraud in California includes murderer Scott Peterson, prosecutor says

New York Daily News logo New York Daily News 11/24/2020 David Matthews

An unemployment claim made in the name of convicted murderer Scott Peterson is just one of many in what a California prosecutor describes as one of the biggest frauds in the state’s history.

Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert said that between March and August more than 35,000 unemployment claims where made on behalf of prison inmates when the CARES Act provided enhanced unemployment benefits. The state paid out at least $140 million on over 20,000 of those claims, including benefits for more than 130 death row inmates, like Scott Peterson.

Scott Peterson wearing a blue shirt: This photo released by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation shows Scott Peterson. The California Supreme Court has overturned the 2005 death sentence for Peterson in the slaying of his pregnant wife. © Provided by New York Daily News This photo released by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation shows Scott Peterson. The California Supreme Court has overturned the 2005 death sentence for Peterson in the slaying of his pregnant wife.

This photo released by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation shows Scott Peterson. The California Supreme Court has overturned the 2005 death sentence for Peterson in the slaying of his pregnant wife.

Peterson was convicted of murdering his pregnant wife Laci and their unborn child in 2004.

However, the state believed the scam could ultimately cost more than $1 billion. It is unknown if the inmates received the money or if the debit cards that were sent out for the claims were used.

In total, prosecutors from nine counties in the Golden State are working to unravel the fraud ring.

“Multiple cards sents to individual addresses both across the jails, the prisons, and likey from the outside. This is very, very organized theft rings to get billions of dollars,” Schubert said.

Authorities said they will try to recoup some of the money, but will be limited in how much can be recovered.

“The practical reality is—when you’re talking about thousands of convicted felons engaged in this behavior, despite best efforts, the practical reality is the vast majority of this money will not be repaid,” El Dorado County District Attorney Vern Pierson said.

With News Wire Services

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