LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — A San Dimas man pleaded guilty Thursday to a federal criminal charge that he fraudulently obtained more than $500,000 in COVID-19-related unemployment benefits from the California Employment Development Department.
Bonifacio Jastilana Marinas, 50, pleaded guilty to a single-count criminal information charging him with mail fraud, the U.S. Department of Justice said.
According to the plea agreement, from April 2020 through August 2020, Marinas filed approximately 85 unemployment insurance claims with EDD using the names of foreign nationals who were not entitled to benefits. The claims falsely stated that the claimants were self-employed real estate agents in Los Angeles County whose jobs had been adversely impacted by the pandemic.
Marinas often listed his own West Covina real estate business, Vintage Realty & Finance Inc., as the workplace of the claimants.
The mailing address used for each of the named claimants, all of whom resided in Saipan or the Philippines, was listed as Marinas own residence, according to the plea agreement. As a result, debit cards were mailed directly to Marinas, who then used them to withdraw the fraudulently obtained funds. In total, Marinas admitted that he defrauded the EDD and the U.S. Treasury of at least $516,244.
Marinas is scheduled to be sentenced June 24. He faces a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in federal prison, according to prosecutors.
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