A Las Vegas woman, Danielle Lacharis Buck (aka Danielle Lacharis Lakey), has pleaded guilty to using at least 40 stolen identities to fraudulently collect approximately $175,622 in unemployment insurance benefits from the California Employment Development Department (EDD), the administrator of the federally funded unemployment insurance benefit program for residents of the State of California.
According to court documents and admissions made in court, Buck, age 45, participated in a scheme from September 2010 to April 2019 to defraud the California EDD into paying her approximately $175,622 in unemployment insurance benefits. As part of the scheme, Buck obtained stolen identities through her job in the medical industry. She used her access to patient and co-worker information to steal personal identifying information — such as names, dates of birth, and social security numbers of unsuspecting individuals — and then electronically filed false unemployment claims using the stolen names and information. In total, Buck filed more than 50 false unemployment insurance claims using at least 40 different stolen identities. She withdrew cash from an unemployment insurance benefits debit cards at ATMs in the Las Vegas and Los Angeles metropolitan areas.
Buck pleaded guilty to one count of mail fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. She faces a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in prison for mail fraud and a mandatory minimum two-year term in prison for aggravated identity theft. U.S. District Judge Kent J. Dawson scheduled sentencing for January 25, 2022.