In an apparent case of assumed identity, U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) has been linked to bigger problems than the partisan squabbles she is already facing.
A California woman claiming to be the senior senator has been arrested on suspicion of participating in a fraud scheme, according to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).
Just one of many alleged schemes
The suspect’s real name appears to be Andrea Gervais and, according to the Daily Wire, she has been identified as a 43-year-old former employee of the Employment Development Department.
Gervais allegedly identified herself as the senator and received a debit card in her name, according to sources cited by the Sacramento Bee.
Investigators reportedly received a tip that someone had filed a Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claim using the name of a U.S. senator, though Feinstein’s name was not included in the Justice Department report.
The ensuing probe led investigators to Gervais and accusations that she fraudulently received $21,000 in benefits.
Her alleged scheme went much deeper, though, as the Justice Department’s statement explained. She “allegedly participated in a mail fraud scheme involving approximately 100 fraudulent Pandemic Unemployment Assurance (PUA) claims in the names of persons other than Gervais,” the DOJ said.
“At least $2 million”
The statement further noted that “at least 12 of the 100 claims were processed for payment, and over $200,000 in PUA benefits were paid out to Gervais’s Roseville address in the form of Bank of America debit cards.”
In total, Gervais’ residence had been linked to “at least $2 million” in fraudulent unemployment claims.
Investigators allegedly caught Gervais in the act of withdrawing cash by using at least seven of the debit cards she is believed to have fraudulently procured. As a result of the charges against her, she is facing a maximum of 20 years behind bars and as much as a $250,000 fine. She is currently out of jail on bond awaiting her next court date.
Gervais was just one of three arrests announced on Thursday, with the other two involving Central California Women’s Facility inmate Sholanda Thomas and parolee Christina Smith.
As the Justice Department statement explained, “recorded jail calls and emails show that Thomas and others engaged in ‘bundling,’ that is, they obtained the names, dates of birth, and social security numbers for inmates at CCWF and relayed that information to Smith to submit the fraudulent claims.”