French National Gets 10 Years for Defrauding California’s Unclaimed Property Division

French National Gets 10 Years for Defrauding California’s Unclaimed Property Division

The U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, in Sacramento in October 2022. (Google Maps / Screenshot via California Insider)

Rudy Blalock
Rudy Blalock

6/11/2024

Updated: 6/12/2024

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A French national was sentenced to a decade in prison June 10 for defrauding the California State Controller’s Office out of nearly $2 million from its Unclaimed Property Division, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Prosecutors say Gabriel Adrien Lobe Diop, 35, who previously resided in Fremont and Agoura Hills, posed as multiple victims for whom the controller’s office held “significant” amounts of unclaimed property.
He would then submit fraudulent applications using post office boxes, mail-forwarding requests, counterfeit notary stamps, and fake driver’s licenses from several states.
“It took a remarkable amount of energy for the defendant to steal nearly $2 million from the State Controller’s Office and attempt to steal millions more,” U.S. Attorney Phillip Talbert said.
From January 2019 until his arrest, Mr. Diop tried to steal at least $9 million. He managed to swipe $1.8 million and spent it on luxury goods, property, and electronics.
After obtaining search and arrest warrants, law enforcement in June 2021 raided Mr. Diop’s Agoura Hills residence in northwest Los Angeles County and seized the counterfeit stamps used to “notarize” the fraudulent applications, plus 12 fake driver’s licenses, bank cards, and checkbooks, officials said.
Mr. Diop pleaded guilty last year to nine counts of mail fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft.
His sentence was handed down by U.S. District Judge William Shubb. In addition to the prison term, Mr. Diop was ordered to pay $1.8 million in restitution.
State Controller Malia Cohen said in the press release that her office has a zero-tolerance policy toward any theft from the Unclaimed Property Division.
The investigation was led by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of California, with assistance from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the state Controller’s Office, Sacramento Valley Hi-Tech Crimes Task Force, and the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General.
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Rudy Blalock is a Southern California-based daily news reporter for The Epoch Times. Originally from Michigan, he moved to California in 2017, and the sunshine and ocean have kept him here since. In his free time, he may be found underwater scuba diving, on top of a mountain hiking or snowboarding—or at home meditating, which helps fuel his active lifestyle.

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