SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A California woman used her state job to run an unemployment benefits fraud and identity theft ring that netted $800,000 and more than 250 stolen identities, federal prosecutors said Thursday.
Pamela Emanuel, 57, of San Jose was arrested before a judge unsealed the 18-count indictment charging her and four other people. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Sacramento said none had retained attorneys.
Emanuel is accused of using her former job as a tax compliance representative with the California Employment Development Department to get workers’ identifying information.
Investigators said she gave the information to the other suspects, who used it to file unemployment claims between April 2013 and July 2016.
Also charged were Gregory Lee, 55, of Antioch; Russell White III, 35, of Turlock; Brittany Maunakea, 27, of Turlock; and Sergio Reyna, 24, of Stockton.
They are each charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and 16 counts of mail fraud. Emanuel and Lee are also charged with aggravated identity theft.
Emanuel sometimes contacted her department posing as a laid-off employee, while hiding her identity, prosecutors said.
Reyna was also arrested Thursday, while investigators are seeking the remaining three people.
They each could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.
Further details were not immediately available on Emanuel’s employment at the state department.