Citrus Heights Couple Indicted for participation in $1 Million Unemployment Insurance Benefits Fraud Scheme

On Thursday, January 18, an indictment was unsealed at the U.S. District Court in Sacramento accusing a Citrus Height, Calif. couple of penetrating a COVID-19-era unemployment scheme targeting the California Employment Development Department. 

The 10-count indictment charged Deshawn Oshaea Campbell, 36, and Rochelle Pasley, 33, both of Citrus Heights, with conspiracy to commit mail fraud, mail fraud, and aggravated identity theft.

According to the evidence presented, starting in June 2020 through December 2020, Campbell and Pasley conspired to defraud by filing fraudulent unemployment insurance claims with EDD seeking Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits under the CARES Act. During the conspiracy, the defendants obtained the identifying information of other individuals and used their identities to submit dozens of fraudulent claims.

The claims represented, among other things, that the claimants had recently lost employment or were unable to find employment due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These claims were fraudulent because, for instance, many of the individuals whose identities were used did not reside in California and were thus ineligible for benefits from EDD.

In the applications, the defendants used mailing addresses that were under their control or under the control of their family and friends. EDD approved more than 50 of the fraudulent claims and authorized Bank of America to mail out EDD debit cards containing benefits.

The defendants then obtained these debit cards and used them to withdraw the benefits at ATMs throughout California and to make direct purchases, all for their own benefit. The scheme resulted in EDD paying out over $1 million.

If convicted, they face up to 20 years in prison. No trial date has been set.

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko via Pexels. 

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