Killer got $30,000 in unemployment while in jail, officials say

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Anthony Garcia had family and friends cash his $1,600-a-month unemployment checks while he served time, L.A. County sheriff’s officials said. Fellow gang members got part, they said.

A convicted killer who got caught because he’d tattooed a graphic mural of the murder scene on his chest raked in more than $30,000 in unemployment benefits while he sat in the Los Angeles County jail system, a sheriff’s spokesman said.

Anthony Garcia, 26, had family and friends cashing his $1,600-per-month checks while he served time, said Capt. Mike Parker, spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. His accomplices would then deposit a portion of the money into Garcia’s jail account. They also shared the cash with Garcia’s fellow incarcerated gang members.

Police arrested Garcia’s father, 47-year-old Juan Garcia, and girlfriends 45-year-old Sandra Jaimez and 25-year-old Cynthia Limas on unemployment fraud and related charges Thursday, Parker said.

“It’s pretty appalling when you think about somebody sitting in jail collecting unemployment,” Parker said.

He did not say whether Anthony Garcia would face additional charges.

The money was deposited in Garcia’s jail account from October 2008 to March 2010. “Investigators determined that … Garcia was having family members and friends fraudulently obtain and cash biweekly unemployment insurance benefit checks,” Parker said in a statement.

Parker said the unemployment money was “used to benefit a criminal gang.”

“Theft, drug sales and violent crimes are an integral part of the gang culture,” Sgt. Kevin Lloyd of the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau added in a statement. “We will continue to go wherever gang members and their associates commit their crimes. Our goal is to reduce violence and solve crimes and that is what we are doing. This investigation is continuing.”

The Sheriff’s Department had photographed Garcia’s tattoo after picking him up during a routine traffic stop on suspicion of driving with a suspended license. Later, a detective familiar with an unsolved 2004 murder outside a Pico Rivera liquor store was flipping through photos and was stunned to see the crime scene inked in precise detail across the young man’s chest.

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