Riverside County Woman Receives 3.5-Year Federal Prison Sentence for $2.8 Million Unemployment Fraud

Case Overview

Sasha Lizette Jimenez, a 26-year-old from Riverside County, California, received a sentence for her involvement in a major unemployment insurance fraud case. This case showcases the serious legal consequences of large-scale financial fraud. Jimenez and her accomplices, including her boyfriend Meshach Samuels, defrauded the California Employment Development Department (EDD) of over $2.8 million.

Key Details of the Case

Incident Description: At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Jimenez and her group initiated a fraudulent scheme. Over two years, they applied for unemployment insurance benefits using stolen personal identifying information (PII). The group targeted non-California residents, deceased individuals, and others ineligible for UI benefits.

Charges and Legal Framework

  • Conspiracy to Commit Bank Fraud

    • Charge Details: Jimenez admitted guilt on May 22 to one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud.
    • Legal Basis: California Penal Code Section 182(a)(4) governs this charge, involving a conspiracy to defraud a financial institution, here being the EDD, through fraudulent UI applications.
  • Bank Fraud

    • Federal Jurisdiction: This case falls under federal law due to the involvement of a federally insured institution, the EDD.
    • Offense Specifics: Using stolen identities to access EDD funds, distributed via EDD debit accounts, violates federal bank fraud statutes.
  • Identity Theft and Related Charges

    • Legal Reference: California Penal Code Section 530.5 covers identity theft, defined as unauthorized use of someone else’s PII for illegal purposes.
    • Application in Jimenez’s Case: The use of stolen PII in this scheme fits this statute, underscoring the gravity of identity theft in financial crimes.

Sentencing and Restitution

    • Sentence: The court sentenced Jimenez to nearly 3.5 years in federal prison.
    • Restitution: She must pay $2,304,203 to the EDD.
    • Total Fraud Amount: The fraudulent activities led to the issuance of at least $2,804,508 in benefits.
    • Additional Details: In 2020, Jimenez used an EDD card issued in victim S.S.’s name to buy luxury jewelry.

Co-Conspirator’s Sentence

    • Meshach Samuels’ Role: Samuels, Jimenez’s boyfriend, received a 7.5-year federal prison sentence for his part in the scheme.


Sasha Lizette Jimenez’s case is a stark warning against engaging in fraudulent activities, especially against government programs. If facing similar legal challenges, The guidance of an experienced criminal defense attorney is essential in such cases. To discuss your specific needs and schedule a consultation, please fill out our form or contact us at (310) 448-1529.

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