A 37–year-old woman serving life in prison on a 2005 murder conviction ran a $2 million COVID-19 fraud ring in California, federal officials say.
Natalie Le Demola, formerly of Corona, and 12 other people face charges including conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Central California reported.
Not all of those accused in the case have been arrested yet, according to the May 17 release.
The ring applied for California unemployment benefits, mostly pandemic-related, using identity theft, including by stealing the identities of other prison inmates, the release said.
Demola ran the operation with the help of Carleisha Neosha Plummer, 32, of Los Angeles, who was her close associate in prison until her July 2020 release on parole, prosecutors said.
She and the others were arrested May 17 on a 39-count indictment, the release said They face up to 30 years in prison plus two years in prison for each case of identity theft if convicted.
Officials did not say whether Demola had an attorney who could comment on her behalf.