A group of people are accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars of unclaimed property from Californians, according to the U.S. District Attorney’s Office.
The California Unclaimed Property website lists property, such as insurance payouts and bank accounts, which has not been claimed by their owners. Many of the owners were deceased or didn’t know money was owed to them.
According to the indictment, the suspects assumed the real owners’ identities, using forged signatures and fake notary stamps to claim the money for themselves.
They’re accused filing fraudulent claims with insurance companies and financial institutions to steal $1.5 million.
Eight people have been charged in the scheme: Stan Gurrola, Ignacio Garcia Nunez, Moises Y. Covarrubias, Moises Covarrubias Angulo, Manuel Reyes Ornelas and Cesar Alfonso Benitez of Calexico; Claudia Griselda Stolp of Newbury Park; and Alma Gurrola of Agoura Hills.
Garcia Nunez, Alma Gurrola and Alfonso Benitez are in federal custody. The other five remain at large.
The defendants face between five and 30 years in prison and hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines.