Three Guilty Pleas in Identity Theft for Unemployment Benefits

Three Guilty Pleas in Identity Theft for Unemployment Benefits title=
Photos: Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office
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Source: Santa Barbara County District Attorney

Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce E. Dudley announced today that on January 22, 2021, Gordon Alan Welterlen, 37, of San Diego, Nicole Michelle Milan, 31, of San Diego, and Rosa Maria Bradley, 40, of Santa Barbara, plead guilty to multiple counts stemming from a felony complaint filed against the three defendants, and three other alleged co-conspirators.

Welterlen pled guilty to fifteen felony counts of unemployment insurance benefit fraud in violation of Unemployment Insurance Code §2101, one felony count of conspiracy to commit multiple-identity theft in violation of Penal Code §530.5(c)(3), and one count of unauthorized access and taking data from a computer system in violation of Penal Code § 502(c)(2). Welterlen also admitted a special allegation of taking in excess of $500,000, pursuant to Penal Code §186.11(a)(2). As a result of his plea, Welterlen will be sentenced to eighteen years in state prison.

Milan pled guilty to fifteen felony counts of Unemployment Insurance Benefit Fraud in violation of Unemployment Insurance Code §2101, and one felony count of conspiracy to commit multiple-identity theft in violation of Penal Code §530.5(c)(3). Milan also admitted a special allegation of taking in excess of $500,000, pursuant to Penal Code §186.11(a)(2). As a result of her plea, Milan will be sentenced to fifteen years in state prison.

Bradley pled guilty to one felony of Unemployment Insurance Benefit Fraud in violation of Unemployment Insurance Code §2101, and one felony count of conspiracy to commit multiple-identity theft in violation of Penal Code §530.5(c)(3). As a result of her plea, Bradley will be given probation for two years.

As part of the plea agreement, Welterlen admitted that he illegally accessed computer networks belonging to businesses across the county, including a computer network belonging to Wolf & Associates Property Management of Santa Barbara on multiple occasions. He also admitted that he stole the identities of over 9,000 people that had been stored on Wolf & Associates’ network. Milan and Welterlen admitted that they conspired with their co-defendants to use the stolen identities to file fraudulent claims for unemployment benefits with the California Employment Development Department. Welterlen and Milan acknowledged that they, and their co-defendants, filed over 300 such fraudulent claims, which resulted in a loss in excess of $2,000,000.00 to California taxpayers. Bradley admitted to conspiring with her co-defendants to file fraudulent claims for benefits and to receiving money from the fraudulently filed claims.

In addition to filing fraudulent unemployment claims, Welterlen and Milan admitting using the stolen identities to purchase and lease cars, open multiple bank accounts, and rent apartments, which resulted in tax and other liability to their victims.

Welterlen, Milan, and Bradley will be sentenced on March 19, 2021 in Department 10 of the Santa Barbara Superior Count. “Last year there were over 100,000 reports of identity theft in California,” District Attorney Joyce Dudley reported.  “Identity theft can cause significant and long lasting financial and emotional harm to a victim. It often takes years for the victim fully recover.  The Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office and its law enforcement partners are committed to finding and prosecuting the perpetrators of these pernicious crimes.” Dudley concluded, “Special thanks to Deputy District Attorney Casey Nelson and Detective Rapp of the Santa Barbara Police Department. They both worked long and hard to ensure this successful prosecution.”  Anyone who believes they were a victim in this case may contact the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office at: [email protected]

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a-1611424642 Jan 23, 2021 09:57 AM
Three Guilty Pleas in Identity Theft for Unemployment Benefits

"The face of criminals"? As though criminals had faces different than non-criminals? So petty and pretty dumb comments. What you folks want is to put them in stocks in a public square so you can go by and insult them and feel self-righteous. I hope we have gone beyond that. Maybe not should we all become fundamentalist Muslims.

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