VICTORVILLE, Calif. (VVNG.com) — Authorities are searching for fraud victims after a Barstow woman was arrested for filing over $85,000 in unemployment insurance fraud.
It all happened on September 14th when Victorville deputies B. Moreland and Deputy E. Smith were patrolling in the area of Desert Knolls Drive and 7th Street and pulled over a vehicle.
During the stop, deputies learned the driver of the vehicle, identified as 28-year-old Brittany Monae Espinoza, did not have a driver’s license, and had a firearm in the car, according to a sheriff’s news release.
The female driver consented to a search and that’s when deputy Moreland located multiple California State Employment Development Department (EDD) benefit debit cards, all bearing different names, none of which belonged to Espinoza. Also located were numerous lists containing names, social security numbers, and other personal information belonging to unknown people.
“Through investigation, it was discovered Espinoza had obtained the names and personal information to file fraudulent unemployment claims for benefits through the EDD. It appears Espinoza has collected in excess of $85,000 in benefits as a result of the fraudulent claims,” stated a sheriff’s news release.
Espinoza was arrested and booked at High Desert Detention Center for Perjury, Forgery, Grand Theft, filing a False Claim for Payment, and False Statements to Obtain Benefits. Her bail was set at $50,000. She posted bond and was released from custody on September 15, 2020, pending a future court appearance. The report will be forwarded to the District Attorney’s office for review and consideration of additional charges.
Investigators believe additional victims exist and would like to speak to anyone that may have received a notice of approval or declination of EDD benefits but did not file a claim.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Deputy B. Moreland at the Victorville Police Department at (760) 241-2911 or Sheriff’s Dispatch at (760) 956-5001. Callers wishing to remain anonymous are urged to call the We-Tip Hotline at 1-800-78CRIME (27463) or you may leave information on the We-Tip website at www.wetip.com.