Three Charged With Allegedly Ripping Off $2 Million In EDD Unemployment Benefits
A state prison inmate, his wife and a San Leandro man have been charged by federal prosecutors in a stolen identity scam that allegedly ripped off the California Employment Development Department for more than $2 million in COVID benefits.
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — A state prison inmate, his wife and a San Leandro man have been charged by federal prosecutors in a stolen identity scam that allegedly ripped off the California Employment Development Department for more than $2 million in COVID benefits.
Acting United States Attorney Stephanie Hinds said Ratha Yin, Amanda Yin, and Steven Mavromatis have all been charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud. If convicted, each faces a maximum sentence of 20 years of prison and fines up to $250,000.
According to the criminal indictment, Ratha Yin was an inmate at Centinela State Prison on October 16, 2020, when he and his cellmate were found to be in possession of two cell phones and two SD cards.
When investigators examined the contraband electronics, they uncovered a trove of information about communications between Ratha Yin and his wife and Mavromatis.
The devices also contained communications with the California Employment Development Department and the Bank of America.
A subsequent investigation uncovered evidence that Ratha Yin used at least one of the cell phones to communicate from prison with Mavromati, who filed fraudulent claims for unemployment insurance made available through EDD under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.
Amanda Yin allegedly knew about the fraud, assisted with the collection of the proceeds and disposed of some of the illegal funds.
The complaint alleged that the defendants accessed the dark web to obtain personally identifying information for hundreds of individuals and then created email accounts for many of the victims to be used in connection with the scheme.
Ratha Yin and Mavromatis then used the personal information and emails to file fraudulent unemployment claims and obtain pre-loaded Bank of America debit cards.
Investigators have uncovered 91 fraudulent claims filed by Ratha Yin and Mavromatis. They obtained0 at least $1.9 million of cash withdrawal. An additional $132,000 was also uncovered.
Amanda Yin allegedly used $71,000 tp purchased an Audi sport utility vehicle and put a down payment on a home in Indio, Calif.
Amanda Yin and Mavromatis were arrested on September 21.