By David Goldstein

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Officials now say California’s prisoner unemployment insurance fraud could reach a billion dollars.

Investigative reporter David Goldstein obtained inside information that shows EDD could have known about some of the cases.

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Scott Peterson is known throughout the world for murdering his wife and unborn son. Yet we obtained information that someone collected unemployment benefits using his name and expired drivers license.

We obtained internal files showing an unemployment claim for Peterson.

Whoever filed said he made $20,000 last year as an area sales representative.

But Peterson is in San Quentin prison after being convicted of murdering his wife Laci and their unborn son.

Our files show someone collected weekly unemployment benefits after we discovered Peterson’s identity was confirmed using his driver’s license – even though it expired in 2004.

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“In other words, people actually processed an application with a known death row inmate, apparently checked on the driver’s license and approved it and sent the money,” said Assemblyman Jim Patterson (R-Fresno). “How in the world does that take place?”

The address for the claim came back to an empty house in Rodeo, California, outside San Francisco. It’s the same address used for an unemployment claim for convicted murderer Cary Stayner, who’s also in San Quentin.

Investigators aren’t saying if the two are involved.

Part of the problem is that unlike 35 other states, California doesn’t use a cross matching system to check prison populations with unemployment claims.

Sacramento DA Anne Marie Shubert, one of the investigators looking into the inmate fraud, says the fraud could reach a billion dollars.

“The truth is they’re talking about it all the time on the jail calls. Not a secret,” she said. “It’s almost like you flew a plane over the city and just dropped a bunch of money.”

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The EDD says they’re now working with the feds to crosscheck inmate names to try and identify fraud and working with cyber experts to insure it doesn’t happen in the future.

David Goldstein