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Woman, 43, Accused Of Ripping Off State For Nearly $300K In Disability Fraud

RIVERSIDE (CBS) — A 43-year-old Riverside County woman has been charged with defrauding the State of California and Employment Development Department (EDD) for nearly $300,000, according to authorities.

Maria Magdalena Rocha, resident of the Inland Empire, turned herself in Thursday.

She was indicted by a federal grand jury on March 7 on 21 counts, including 18 for mail fraud and 3 of aggravated identity theft.

Officials allege that Rocha used the identities of more than 50 co-workers, family members and friends without their knowledge.

Authorities say that between 2006 through 2010, Rocha filed approximately 83 fraudulent state disability claims and at least 12 false unemployment claims with the EDD for California. The estimated dollar loss is $283,626.29, according to the indictment.

Prosecutors say mail fraud charges carry a maximum penalty of 20 years in federal prison. Identity theft charges carry a potential maximum sentence of 2 years, consecutively imposed for each conviction.

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