Family members of a convicted murderer in the L.A. County jail system were arrested for allegedly cashing $30,000 worth of his unemployment checks, authorities said.
Anthony Garcia had family and friends cashing his $1,600-per-month government assistance checks while he served time, said Capt. Mike Parker, spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. His accomplices would then deposit a portion of the money into Garcia’s jail account. They also shared the cash with Garcia’s fellow incarcerated gang members.
The investigation spanned from October 2008 to March 2010. “Investigators determined that… Garcia was having family members and friends fraudulently obtain and cash bi-weekly unemployment insurance benefit checks,” Parker said in a statement.
Parker did not say whether Garcia would face additional charges.
Parker said the unemployment money was being “used to benefit a criminal gang.”
“Theft, drug sales and violent crimes are an integral part of the gang culture,” added Sgt. Kevin Lloyd of the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau in a statement. “We will continue to go wherever gang members and their associates commit their crimes. Our goal is to reduce violence and solve crimes and that is what we are doing. This investigation is continuing.”
Police arrested Garcia’s father, 47-year-old Juan Garcia, and girlfriends 45-year-old Sandra Jaimez and 25-year-old Cynthia Limas on unemployment fraud and related charges on Thursday, Parker said.
“It’s pretty appalling when you think about somebody sitting in jail collecting unemployment,” Parker said.
The Sheriff’s Department photographed an extensive tattoo of Garcia’s after picking him up during a routine traffic stop. The measure is routine with suspected gang members. Later, a detective investigating a 2004 murder outside a Pico Rivera liquor store was flipping through photos when he was stunned to see the crime scene inked in precise detail across a young man’s chest.