Stop Death Row Inmates and Scam-Artist Prisoners from Collecting Fraudulent Unemployment Benefits

Doesn’t it seem strange that we need to pass a law in California to allow the government agency in charge of unemployment (Employment Development Department- EDD) to be able to cross-check filed unemployment claims against prison addresses and prisoner information?

I know, it’s California. But even for a complicated state like ours, this simple anti-fraud step seems like it would be a no-brainer. In fact, 35 other states already have such a law in place.

But because it isn’t a law here, inmates in California’s state prisons, jails and their associates bilked the state out of at least $1 billion.

Scott Peterson, who murdered his wife and unborn son, and Cary Stayner, who brutally murdered a woman, two girls, and a co-worker, burning two of the victims in the trunk of a car and decapitating another, are among the felons in state prison who got unemployment checks.

Other felons who received unemployment checks:

  • Royal Clark, convicted of killing two young girls and assaulting another;
  • Isauro Aguirre, convicted of the torture and murder of his girlfriend's eight-year-old son, because he thought he was gay; and
  • Susan Eubanks, who shot her four sons, ages 4-14, pointblank in the head after a night of drinking and drugs.

It wasn't like these felons were even trying to hide where they live as they used their prison addresses as their current residence.

Republican State Senator Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) has introduced the why-wasn’t-it-in-place-already legislation. Her bill would allow California’s unemployment department to cross-check unemployment claims against records for county jails, state prisons or other public institutions as well as provide resources to investigate and prosecute thousands of fraud cases.

Stay tuned as we find out what happens to this legislation as it makes its way through the California State Legislature.