Delano husband and wife plead guilty to unemployment insurance scheme
October 2, 2017
• Collected at least $1.3 Million in fraudulent claims
• Now face decades in prison
Raul Oropeza Lopez, 50, and Ana Maria Oropeza, 43, both of Delano, have pleaded guilty to mail fraud, says U.S. Attorney Phillip Talbert.
According to court documents, Mr. Lopez obtained Social Security numbers, names, and other personal identifying information of U.S. citizens and legal residents and then fraudulently used the information to provide undocumented workers with false identities required to work in the United States as farm laborers.
Then, when the undocumented workers were laid off at the end of the growing season, Mr. Lopez and his wife filed fraudulent unemployment insurance claims in the names of the assumed identities, fraudulently relying on the work performed by the undocumented workers to claim unemployment insurance benefits for the Lopezes’ benefit.
Over a period of six years, Mr. Lopez and his wife submitted more than 520 fraudulent unemployment insurance claims on behalf of over 70 individuals, collecting at least $1.3 million.
The defendants are scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Lawrence O'Neill on January 29, 2018. Each faces a possible maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.