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Louisiana residents arrested on charges of taking $1M of California EDD funds

The Louisiana Attorney General announced eight people were accused in stealing unemployment insurance funds from California and Louisiana.

BATON ROUGE, La. — Louisiana's attorney general says eight Louisiana residents are accused of defrauding pandemic unemployment programs, and eight of them are accused of getting more than $1 million from California's program. 

A news release from Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry said Louisiana Bureau of Investigation agents learned that multiple groups operating across several Louisiana parishes allegedly defrauded the California and Louisiana programs.

The investigators found evidence that members of these groups filed over 100 fraudulent online claims with the California Employment Development Department (EDD) totaling more than $1 million. The group also allegedly filed fraudulent claims with the Louisiana Workforce Commission for a total of more than $60,000.

“Crime has no geographical boundaries and because of our partnerships with other law enforcement agencies, neither do we,” Iberville Sheriff Brett Stassi said.

Six of the eight people accused of the crimes against California were arrested in that investigation, and two more are being sought. Landry's office said five of the arrestees were accused of defrauding Louisiana.

  • Dynasty Rowe, a 26-year-old of Maringouin, Louisiana
  • Kendell Fowler, 42-year-old of Baton Rouge, Louisiana 
  • Miquel Banks, a 28-year-old of Plaquemine, Louisiana 
  • Lasia Brock, a 20-year-old of Thibodaux, Louisiana
  • Ashley Johnson, a 32-year-old of Prairieville, Louisiana
  • Darrolyn Bell, a 29-year-old of Plaquemine, Louisiana

The charges for these arrests varied but included a combination of illegal transmission of monetary funds, criminal conspiracy, government benefits fraud, and money laundering. 

The arrests were made with assistance from the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office, East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office, Iberville Parish Sheriff’s Office, West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office, Addis Police Department, U.S. Department of Labor, and Louisiana Workforce Commission.

There are currently two outstanding warrants in this case for Adrienne Johnson, a 37-year-old of Prairieville, Louisiana, and Joseph Mitchell, a 24-year-old of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Louisiana law enforcement asked that if anyone knows information on their whereabouts to contact them at 800-256-4506.

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