A Stockton man pleaded guilty to mail fraud and identity theft Tuesday after attempting to fraudulently secure unemployment insurance benefits from the California Employment Development Department.
John Michael Herron II, 36, attempted to defraud the EDD by creating fictitious companies staffed by fictitious employees, whose names were taken from real people, some of whom were unaware of the scheme, according to a news release issued by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California.
Herron then made claims with the EDD, saying that these employees had been laid off or fired to receive unemployment benefits on debit cards controlled by himself, according to the release.
Herron was captured on ATM security cameras at least once withdrawing unemployment funds from debit cards registered to a victim of identity theft, according to the release.
He is alleged to have made about $578,185 in false EDD claims, $485,685 of which was paid out, according to the release.
Herron’s co-defendant, Robert Maher, has charges pending against him, according to the release.
Herron is scheduled to be sentenced on July 2 and faces up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for mail fraud and a mandatory two-year sentence with a fine of $250,000 for identity theft, according to the release.