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Tracy man among four charged in $1.2 million EDD fraud case

A local inmate at a California state prison in Tracy allegedly received over $900,000 in fraudulently filed unemployment benefits.

TRACY, Calif. — A Tracy man is one of four people charged in a 16-count indictment that alleges the group fraudulently filed unemployment claims in an attempt to get more than $1.2 million from the Employment Development Department (EDD). 

According the Department of Justice in a press release, Kenneth Ray Hawkins, 47, of Tracy, was an inmate at California state prison Deuel Vocational Institution when he, along with co-conspirators Jacqueline Marie Marquez, 34, formerly of Las Vegas; Alyssa Marie Jones, 32, of Barstow; and Ebony Chanel Jones, 20, of Barstow, allegedly filed multiple EDD claims under the identities of other inmates at the prison. 

Hawkins then allegedly had the benefits sent to California addresses belonging to either Marquez, Alyssa Jones or Ebony Jones. The scheme sought over $1.2 million. While legitimate claimants have struggled for months to get their benefits paid, EDD approved dozens of Hawkins' fraudulent claims and paid out over $900,000 via Bank of America debit cards, according to the press release. 

The four defendants were charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and mail fraud. They now face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine on each of the 16 counts. 

Alyssa Jones and Ebony Jones recently made their first appearances in court and were released on bond. Marquez has not yet made her initial appearance in federal court. Hawkins remains in state prison for an unrelated conviction.

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