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California Attorney General Rob Bonta announced the charges Wednesday against Brandy Iglesias, who allegedly collected more than $145,000 in fraudulent unemployment benefits from California’s Employment Development Department (EDD) from April 2020 to September of 2021.
Authorities say she collected the benefits under her own name as well as the names of Peterson and Stayner. Both men are currently incarcerated at the San Quentin state prison.
“Don’t let the infamous names distract you from who this crime really hurt — the most vulnerable in our society,” Bonta said. “EDD theft hurts families in need, parents left without jobs during a pandemic, and Californians struggling to get by.”
Iglesias is now facing multiple counts of felony grand theft and forgery in the case, according to the complaint in the case.
Authorities believe she was able to gain access to the prisoners’ personal information while working with a private company that had contracted with the prison.
“One of our top priorities has been to investigate and collaborate closely with our statewide task force partners on the unprecedented amount of unemployment insurance fraud cases our state has seen since 2020. Fraud of this nature is abhorrent, and caused harm to people and families during their time of need,” said Kathleen Allison, the secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. “The department has dedicated resources and agents to the task force so that together, we can ensure anyone responsible for defrauding hard-working Californians from access to unemployment benefits is held accountable.”
Iglesias was arrested Saturday and made her first court appearance on Wednesday, according to The Associated Press. She’s currently being held on a $20,000 bond.
She is accused of using Peterson’s name to claim $18,562 in unemployment funds in June of 2020.
Peterson was convicted in 2004 of killing his pregnant wife Laci and the couple’s unborn son. Laci disappeared from the couple’s Modesto home on Christmas Eve in 2002. Her remains, and those of the unborn baby, later washed up along the San Francisco Bay months later, not far from where Peterson told authorities he had been fishing the day his wife disappeared.
The investigation revealed that Peterson had been secretly having an affair with Amber Frey and he allegedly told the single mom that his wife was already dead.
A judge is currently considering whether to grant Peterson’s request for a new trial after alleged juror misconduct in the original 2004 trial.
His defense team has argued that juror Richelle Nice was biased and failed to disclose her own past with domestic violence on a juror questionnaire before serving on the high-profile jury.
Iglesias is also accused of fraudulently collecting $20,194 in Stayner’s name.
Stayner is currently serving time behind bars for the violent deaths of three tourists and a nationalist in Yosemite National Park in 1999.
The decapitate body of nature guide Joie Ruth Armstrong was found in an area of the park, according to People. He also admitted to killing Carole Sund, 42; her daughter Juli Sand, 15; and Juli’s friend Silvina Pelosso, 16.
Stayner first became the subject of national headlines when his younger brother Steven Stayner was abducted in 1972 while walking home from his elementary school in Merced, California by convicted child molester Kenneth Parnell.
Steven escaped eight years later after Parnell had kidnapped 5-year-old Timothy White. Steven fled with White in tow in a heroic effort to save the young boy.
The sensational case was the subject of the tv movie series “I Know My First Name Is Steven.”
Cary Stayner was sentenced to death for his crimes in 2002 and remains on death row.
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