LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A convicted killer's father and two girlfriends were arrested for allegedly fraudulently accepting and cashing unemployment checks on the inmate's behalf and putting the money in jail financial accounts for him and other gang members while he was incarcerated, sheriff's officials announced today.
Authorities say Anthony "Chopper'' Garcia, who was convicted of a Pico Rivera murder in April 2011 in part due to a tattoo of the murder scene on his chest, received more than $30,000 in unemployment insurance benefits in his name while he was incarcerated between Oct. 2008 and March 2010.
Investigators believe Garcia was having family members and friends cash the biweekly benefit checks, which totaled about $1,600 per month, said Captain Mike Parker of the Sheriff's Headquarters Bureau.
"Inmates are not legally entitled to unemployment benefits,'' Parker said in a statement. "The checks were mailed to addresses in La Habra, Downey and Menifee and were cashed in Pico Rivera and Riverside County.''
Parker said detectives believe three suspects worked with Garcia to cash checks totaling $20,000 out of the more than $30,000 he received. "The three suspects would then place a portion of the money onto the jail inmate financial accounts of Anthony Garcia and fellow gang members,'' Parker said. Detectives believe the money was being used to benefit a criminal gang.
In connection with the fraud, Garcia's father, 47-year-old gang member Juan Garcia, was arrested at his job in South Gate. He was booked for 13 counts of second degree burglary, conspiracy to commit grand theft and unemployment fraud. All counts have the gang enhancement.
Juan Garcia is being held in lieu of $960,000 bail.
Anthony Garcia's two girlfriends, 45-year-old Downey resident Sandra Jaimez and Cynthia Limas, 25, of Menifee were also arrested in connection with the crime. Jaimez was booked for 10 counts of second degree burglary, conspiracy, unemployment fraud, possession of a controlled substance for sales - - methamphetamine -- and a gang enhancement.
Limas was booked for conspiracy to commit grand theft and grand theft with a gang enhancement. Jaimez is being held in lieu of $600,000 bail. Lima is being held on $60,000 bail.