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DA: Trio charged in $1.3 mil EDD fraud scheme using inmates' personal information

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Posted at 6:23 AM, Mar 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-31 10:44:22-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - On Tuesday, 34-year-old Maereichelle Marquez was arraigned in court by video from the Las Colinas women's jail for her alleged connection to a scheme to steal $1.3 million from the state's unemployment benefits system.

The District Attorney's Office believes that she and two other individuals took the personal information from more than 60 inmates to defraud the government.

Marquez entered a not guilty plea.

The DA's Office said that she and 34-year-old Ryan Kubista and 61-year-old Stacy Wright filed fraudulent claims to get more than $1.3 million in illegal payouts last year.

They reportedly used the personal information of at least 64 inmates to fraudulently get EDD unemployment benefits.

California prison inmates are not eligible to get those benefits.

According to the DA, they applied for and received EDD Bank of America debit cards in the inmates' names, then had the cards and EDD benefits mailed to their homes in Escondido or PO boxes in North County, so the cash could easily be withdrawn.

The charges for the trio include grand theft and forgery, among other counts.

If convicted, they could face up to twelve years in prison.

In January, the DA charged nine prisoners who allegedly scammed the EDD out of more than $160,000.

They were reportedly serving the remainder of their sentences in a halfway house where restaurant meals and luxury items from Amazon were being delivered, which tipped off investigators.

Marquez's preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 10.

The DA's Office said that Kubista will likely be arraigned on Friday. The DA's Office also said that Wright is out on bail.