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Inmate jobless benefits from 'conspiracy'

LOS ANGELES, March 6 (UPI) -- A convicted killer in the Los Angeles jail was able to collect $30,000 in unemployment benefits through a "conspiracy," an official said.

The inmate, gang member Anthony Garcia, 26, is serving a 65-years-to-life sentence for murder. His father and two girlfriends are accused of burglary, false statements and conspiracy to commit grand theft.

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Juan Garcia, 47, Sandra Jaimez, 45, and Cynthia Limas, 25, are set to appear in a Whittier, Calif., court for arraignment Monday, the Los Angeles Times reported.

"Certainly, being in prison would make an individual ineligible to receive unemployment benefits since he or she would not meet the requirement of being available to accept work," Dan Stephens, a spokesman for the Employment Development Department, told the Times. "As the charges in this case illustrate, there was a conspiracy with others to fraudulently collect benefits."

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Stephens said in a statement, "The EDD does maintain and utilize a variety of processes, tools and techniques to deter and detect fraud including several data cross matches, audits and other systems to identify individuals who may be improperly or fraudulently collecting benefits."

The Times said no new charges have been filed against Anthony Garcia, who confessed to a 2004 murder outside a Pico Rivera liquor store. An investigator looked at the tattoo on his chest in 2008 and recognized the crime scene.

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The father and two girlfriends allegedly cashed checks sent to the inmate from October 2008 to August 2010, officials said.

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The Times said the three face a special allegation the crime was committed for the benefit of a street gang, which could carry a harsher sentence. Police said Garcia, is a member of the Rivera-13 gang.

If convicted, Juan Garcia could face a possible 30 years and four months in prison; Jaimez and Limas a possible 25 years and four months, and seven years in prison, respectively, the Times said.

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