SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California District Attorneys came forward on Tuesday to say that more than 35 thousand inmates were named in claims filed with the California Employment Development Department from March to August. According to Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert, more than 20 thousand of them have been paid.
Some of the inmates named in the claims are some big names in the California prison system. Schubert even confirmed that there was a claim in the name of Scott Peterson.
While there is no evidence that these inmates were paid the unemployment benefits, their names are still listed as claims with the EDD.
So who are some of these big-name inmates being named on these claims?
Scott Peterson was convicted of first-degree murder in 2005 for killing his wife Laci Peterson, who was eight months pregnant with their unborn son. Back in 2002, investigators said that Peterson dumped the bodies in the San Francisco Bay, where they surfaced months later.
He is scheduled to appear in court on Jan. 21, 2021 for his trial after his death sentence was recently overturned. Prosecutors are again seeking the death penalty for Peterson.
Peterson's Attorney Pat Harris says his client did not open the claim with EDD.
"Scott’s name appeared on an application according to the investigation which is just beginning," Harris said in a statement emailed to ABC10. "Scott did not receive fraudulent benefits. We have no doubt that when the investigation is completed this will be proven."
Cary Stayner is known as the Yosemite Killer. He is currently on death row, more than 20 years after he murdered four women near Yosemite in 1999.
Three women went missing in February 1999. Their bodies were found in March of that year. Investigators found that two of the women, Carole Sund and Silvina Pelosso were strangled to death and the third woman, Juli Sund had her throat slit.
The fourth victim, Joie Armstrong, was found decapitated in July 1999.
Staynor eventually confessed to all four murders after being questioned about Armstrong's death.
Susan Eubanks was convicted of shooting her four sons to death in 1997, all of them between the ages of four and 14 in her home in San Marcos, California. Prosecutors say she killed her sons as revenge against her husband as they were going through a divorce. She is currently on death row.
Isauro Aguirre was sentenced to death for torturing and killing eight-year-old Gabriel Fernandez in 2013. Fernandez died from months of abuse from his mother, who is also in prison for life, and her boyfriend Aguirre.
The judge described the torture, saying that Fernandez was beaten, starved, tied up, locked in a cabinet, shot with a BB gun, had his teeth knocked out with a bat and had a fractured skull and broken ribs.
The abuse happened because his mother and Aguirre believed Fernandez was gay. There is also a Netflix documentary series, "The Trials of Gabriel Fernandez," which debuted in February.
Wesley Shermantine was part of the duo known as the "Speed Freak Killers." The duo went on a murder spree that lasted nearly 15 years from 1984 to 1999. He was arrested, along with his partner, in 1999 after investigators found one of their victim's blood in Shermantine's car. According to the New York Times, he was convicted of four murders from 1984.
Shermantine is currently on death row at San Quentin Prison.
Lawmakers want the California EDD to be transparent and held accountable for its actions and that reform needs to be done of the whole department immediately.