A Los Angeles County woman serving a life term for murdering her mother was sentenced Monday, July 10, to an additional seven years for running a $2 million COVID-19 unemployment fraud scheme from behind bars that used stolen identities, some belonging to other inmates.
Natalie Le DeMola, 38, is now incarcerated at the California Institution for Women in Corona and is eligible for parole in July 2026 for her murder conviction.
U.S. District Judge John Walter ordered her to serve her seven-year federal prison sentence consecutive to her state term. He also ordered DeMola to pay $933,181 in restitution, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. DeMola and a dozen others were charged last year with using stolen identities to fraudulently obtain unemployment benefits — including pandemic relief funds — mostly during the second half of 2020. The indictment names various defendants in 31 bank fraud counts and seven aggravated identity theft counts.
DeMola and her co-conspirators “would acquire the PII (personal identifying information), such as the names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers, of individuals, including identity theft victims, who were not eligible for UI benefits, including pandemic benefits, because they were employed, retired, or incarcerated,” according to the document.
Members of the conspiracy used the information to make fraudulent online applications for benefits from the California Employment Development Department. Once the applications were approved, they received EDD-funded debit cards that allowed them to withdraw money from ATMs across Southern California.
The leaders of the ring were DeMola and Carleisha Plummer, 33, a close prison associate of DeMola’s until Plummer’s parole in July 2020, federal prosecutors said. DeMola pleaded guilty in March in Los Angeles federal court to charges of bank fraud, aggravated identity theft and conspiracy to commit bank and wire fraud. Plummer pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, and one count of aggravated identity theft. She faces up to 32 years in prison at her October sentencing hearing, prosecutors said.
Earlier this month, the 13th and final defendant to plead guilty in the case was sentenced to four months in home detention. Mykara Robinson, 25, of Los Angeles, pleaded guilty to one federal count of bank fraud.