Corona, CA: Corona man working for EDD sentenced for conspiracy and bribery

A Corona man who worked for the state Employment Development Department in Anaheim and took more than $40,000 in kickbacks in an unemployment insurance scheme was sentenced today to 76 months in federal prison.

David Paul Holden, 31, pleaded guilty May 4 to one count each of conspiracy and bribery, Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua Robbins said.

U.S. District Judge David O. Carter ordered Holden to pay $510,454 in restitution to the Employment Development Department, Robbins said. It was unclear if he had an ability to pay.

Holden was the ringleader in a scheme in which more than 50 people who were ineligible for unemployment benefits for various reasons were able to get government checks, Robbins said.

Six recruiters who worked with Holden pleaded guilty in the scheme. They were identified as Cristobal Salgado, 26, of Moreno Valley; his wife Melissa, 25; Ulysses Hernandez, 25, of Fontana, and his brother Zaharid Hernandez, 26, of Bloomington; Narciso Rodriguez, 29, of Riverside; and Patricia Cordova, 31, of Anaheim.

Rodriguez was sentenced to 18 months. The rest are scheduled to be sentenced this fall, Robbins said.

Holden ran the scheme while working in the state EDD office from March 2010 through January 2011, Robbins said.

Holden changed the department's records to make it look like undeserving applicants qualified for the benefits, and the defendants received kickbacks, the prosecutor said.

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