Couple charged with cashing checks for gang members

DOWNEY - A man and woman who obtained more than $20,000 in unemployment benefits for incarcerated gang members, including one awaiting trial for murder, were sentenced to state prison Tuesday.Norwalk Superior Court Judge Robert Higa sentenced each to five years in prison and ordered them to pay full restitution of $22,087 plus interest. Juan Leonard Garcia, 48, of Pico Rivera, and Sandra Muro Jaimez, 46, of Downey, each pleaded guilty to making false unemployment insurance claims. Garcia also pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree burglary, while Jaimez pleaded guilty to one count each of possession for sale of methamphetamine and felony child abuse. The defendants, along with a third woman who pleaded guilty last year to a conspiracy count, submitted false unemployment insurance claims and cashed biweekly state unemployment checks for almost two years. Garcia is the father of Anthony Garcia, a Rivera 13 gang member who currently is serving a 65-year-to-life prison term for a Pico Rivera murder. Authorities said that from October 2008 to August 2010, the defendants received and cashed biweekly unemployment checks on behalf of the younger Garcia, who because he was in jail was ineligible to receive EDD assistance. Proceeds from the checks were shared by the defendants, the younger Garcia and other gang members in the Los Angeles County Jail.

********** Published: March 21, 2013 - Volume 11 - Issue 49