UPDATE: Yvette Compito, 44, of Santa Clarita, and Karamoko Goodman, 37, of Lancaster, were sentenced Tuesday, Jan. 17, to four years in federal prison.
Jesse Davis previously received a 2-year prison sentence; Shanema McQueen was sentenced to 1 year and one day (half to be served in prison, half on home detention); and LaJamaal Brumfield was sentenced to 8 months (half in prison, half at home).
[U.S. Attorney, July 11, 2011] – United States Attorney Benjamin B. Wagner announced that Yvette Compito, 44, of Santa Clarita, and Karamoko Goodman, 37, of Lancaster, pleaded guilty Tuesday to conspiracy to fraudulently obtain Unemployment Insurance benefits.
Co-defendants Jesse Davis, 29, of San Diego, Shanema McQueen, 29, of South Carolina, LaJamaal Brumfield, 29, of Victorville, and Suzanne Perkins, 48, of Palmdale, previously pleaded guilty to similar charges.
According to court documents, between January 2000 and January 2007 the defendants operated a “fictitious employer” scheme. Compito established 13 different businesses with the EDD that, with two exceptions, were entirely fictitious. These fictitious businesses reported wages for 150 individuals to the EDD. The defendants subsequently filed for unemployment benefits under the names of the fake employees. EDD accepted the claims based on the previously reported wages and mailed unemployment checks to addresses provided and controlled by the defendants.
The fake employees were recruited in a variety of ways: they were recruited and signed up directly by Compito or recruited by Goodman and Davis at Compito’s behest. Compito used and encouraged Goodman and Davis to use minor children to participate in the scheme. Most of the individuals recruited by Davis were students at Los Angeles High School (where Davis worked as a security guard). The use of minors allowed Compito, Goodman, Davis, and others to both keep a higher percentage of the UI benefit checks and avoid law enforcement detection. A further benefit was that a minor’s claim was unlikely to conflict in the EDD system with wages reported by a legitimate employer. More than $800,000 in UI benefits were fraudulently obtained as part of the scheme.
Compito and Goodman are scheduled to be sentenced by United States District Judge John A. Mendez on September 27, 2011. They face a maximum statutory penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.
This case is the product of an investigation by the United States Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General and the Employment Development Department, Criminal Investigations Division. Assistant United States Attorney Jared Dolan is prosecuting the case.