Two Delano residents were sentenced for an unemployment insurance fraud scheme on Tuesday, November 13.
51-year-old Raul Oropeza Lopez was ordered to serve three years and one month in prison and pay $1,283,160 in restitution. and 45-year-old Ana Maria Oropeza was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to serve eight months on house arrest. The defendants were also ordered to forfeit over $167,000 in seized cash.
According to court documents, Lopez obtained social security numbers, names and other personal identifying information of U.S. citizens and legal residents and then fraudulently used the information to provide undocumented workers with false identities required to work in the U.S. as farm laborers.
The Department of Justice said that when the undocumented workers were laid off at the end of the growing season, Lopez and his wife filed fraudulent unemployment insurance claims in the names of the assumed identities, relying on the work performed by the undocumented workers to fraudulently claim unemployment insurance benefits.
According to court documents, over a period of six years, the couple submitted more than 520 fraudulent unemployment insurance claims on behalf of over 70 individuals.