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Roseville police announce huge EDD fraud bust involving guns, drugs, witness intimidation

Sacramento Bee logoSacramento Bee 4/28/2021 Sam Stanton, The Sacramento Bee

Apr. 27—Roseville police and Placer County prosecutors say they have broken up a fraud ring that illegally took in $2.3 million in California unemployment benefits and engaged in credit card fraud, human trafficking and drug sales.

The revelation Tuesday follows a five-month investigation that began with a Nov. 8 traffic stop of a 2017 Porsche Panamera being driven by Bruce Edward Anderson IV of Suisun City on Highway 65 near Pleasant Grove Boulevard, police said.

Anderson, 42, was driving with Candice Carty, 28, also of Suisun City, and two children in the rear of the car, police said.

Investigators say that after the stop in the parking lot of the Topgolf driving range they seized $11,000 in cash, a loaded .40-caliber handgun, $90,000 in jewelry and drugs that were packaged for sale. Anderson and Carty were booked into the Placer County Jail on various charges, but later posted bail and were released, police said.

The children were handed over to Placer County child protective services, and investigators continued with the case until December 22, when they executed search warrants at four locations in Suisun City, Fairfield and Hayward.

Those searches in Solano and Alameda counties led to the seizure of $200,000 in cash, 2,000 Xanax bars, small amounts of cocaine and MDMA, and two firearms, including a fully automatic assault rifle and a "ghost" Glock handgun "with a threaded gold barrel," court records say.

Authorities also found evidence of Employment Development Department fraud involving about 200 victims, authorities said, as well as a credit card embosser, magnetic stripe reader-writer device and "multiple unembossed gift cards and credit cards."

Investigators subsequently identified Anderson as the head of a fraud effort that had applied for $4.5 million in EDD benefits and had withdrawn more than $2.3 million from ATMs using EDD debit cards, police said.

One of the fraudulent applications was in the name of Anderson's brother, Brandon Singleton, an inmate at California State Prison, Los Angeles County, in Lancaster, court records say.

Other phony EDD accounts were taken out in the names of unwitting victims, some of whom had their personal identifying information sent to Anderson by text message from others involved in the fraud, court records say.

'The scope of this is remarkable'

"This currently is the largest EDD fraud case that our office is prosecuting," Chief Assistant District Attorney Dave Tellman said. "We're prosecuting more and more EDD fraud out of our local jail and other individuals that are involved, but this is clearly a massive fraud."

Overall, there are so many EDD fraud cases coming from inside Placer County's jails that one assistant district attorney has been assigned to handle such cases exclusively, Tellman said. The office has about 45 prosecutors.

Placer County District Attorney Morgan Gire said the amount of suspected fraud is so great that he also has assigned an investigator to help handle such cases, too.

Placer County typically has a jail population of about 600 inmates, and the DA's office has identified about 300 EDD claims involving inmates. Some may be legitimate claims by inmates on the verge of leaving jail, he said, but many others are suspected fraud cases.

"The scope of this is remarkable, and we're not unique," Gire said.

Gun proliferation part of investigation

The investigation came as prosecutors throughout the region were focusing on EDD fraud cases that began during the COVID-19 pandemic and mushroomed to involve billions of dollars of fraud by inmates nationwide and criminal organizations worldwide that targeted weaknesses in California's unemployment system.

At the time, prosecutors also were focusing on an increase in gun violence in the region stemming from what they say were purchases of illegal firearms using stolen EDD funds.

Last week, authorities issued felony arrest warrants for Anderson; Alicia Alexis, 32, of Suisun City; Emily Hill, 25, of Santa Cruz; Sean Gray, 31, of Vallejo; and Robert Adams, 28, of Fairfield, on a variety of charges.

Hill was arrested last week at her home in Santa Cruz, and authorities are still searching for Alexis, Gray and Adams, police said.

Court records say that after the search of Anderson's home on Dec. 22, Anderson spoke with her by phone from the Placer County Jail and told her to go to the house and "retrieve illegally obtained cash from a hidden location that law enforcement did not find."

Hill went to the Suisun City home, broke a window and retrieved "$50,000 in illegally obtained cash," court records say.

"Emily Hill then transported the money to Bruce Anderson's mother's residence in Los Angeles," court records say. "Weeks later, Alecia Alexis retrieved the cash from Bruce Anderson's mother's residence."

Sacramento attorney Mark Reichel said Tuesday that he and attorney Linda Parisi are representing Anderson, but declined comment.

Court records show Anderson is scheduled to be arraigned May 5 on 23 counts, including felon in possession of a firearm, manufacturing a deadly weapon, pimping, human trafficking, grand theft and witness intimidation.


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