OC Prosecutors Set to Detail Charges in Unemployment Fraud During Pandemic


SANTA ANA (CNS) - Orange County prosecutors today will detail a raft of charges against defendants accused of ripping off the state's unemployment program during the COVID-19 pandemic.

District Attorney Todd Spitzer will be joined by Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris, D-Laguna Beach, who will be leading hearings on the issue this week.

Last week, three felons, including a convicted murderer, were charged with a scheme to illegally obtain unemployment benefits during the pandemic.

Rosalva Bahena, 35, Bruno Galindo, 49, and Guillermo Rodriguez, 53, were charged in connection with the alleged conspiracy, according to the criminal complaint.

Bahena is charged with three counts each of perjury and false statement or representation or concealment, money laundering, and a count of conspiracy to defraud another of property, all felonies.

Galindo is charged with three counts each of false statement or representation or concealment and money laundering and a count of conspiracy to defraud another of property, all felonies.

Rodriguez is charged with single felony counts of false statement or representation or concealment and conspiracy to defraud another of property. Galindo, who is in prison, is accused of falsely claiming he lost his full-time job at a smoke shop because of the pandemic in August, according to the criminal complaint. Galindo was convicted of attempted murder in January of 2005 in Riverside County and is not eligible for parole until June of 2031.

Bahena was being held on $125,000 bail, according to jail records.

She is accused of conspiring with Galindo to defraud the California Employment Development Department with bogus pandemic-related unemployment claims on behalf of three prisoners, according to the criminal complaint.

Bahena is also accused of using the debit cards issued to Galindo and Rodriguez to withdraw money from Bank of America in August, October and November.

Bahena pleaded guilty in December 2016 to carjacking in a plea bargain that led to the dismissal of charges of kidnapping, car theft and buying or receiving a stolen vehicle, according to court records. She was sentenced to three years in prison in February 2017.

Rodriguez was sentenced to 110 years to life in prison in December 2010 for strangling his married neighbor, who had multiple sclerosis, after he caught her in bed with his 18-year-old son.

The Fullerton resident was convicted for the Oct. 15, 2006, strangulation death of 43-year-old Donna Dutton at the Streams apartment complex at 1251 Deerpark Drive.

Rodriguez also pleaded guilty in February 1997 to robbery and assault with a deadly weapon and was sentenced then to four years in prison.


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