A San Dimas man pled guilty Feb. 18 to a federal criminal charge that he fraudulently received more than $500,000 in unemployment benefits related to COVID-19.

According to the Department of Justice, Bonifacio Jastilana Marinas, 50, obtained the unemployment benefits by using the names of foreign nationals he claimed were real estate agents in the area that needed financial help.

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Marinas pled guilty to single-count criminal information charges of mail fraud.

Marinas plea agreement from April 2020 to August 2020 stated that he used the CARES Act’s provisions to file nearly 85 unemployment insurance claims with the California Employment Development Department (EDD).

He used the names of self-employed real estate agents in the Los Angeles area.

According to the plea agreement, Marinas used his own West Covina real estate firm, Vintage Realty & Finance Inc., as the “workplace “for the claimants.

Marinas admitted to using his address to receive the unemployment debit cards that resulted in $516,244 in EDD benefits and the United States Treasury.

The United States District Judge Fernando M. Olguin scheduled his sentencing hearing for June 24, where he will be faced with a maximum of 20 years in federal prison.

Written ByLauren Akabori

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