OAKLAND — A Modesto woman was sentenced Friday to 27 months in federal prison for conspiring with her son to use an identity theft scheme to steal $145,000 in COVID-19 stimulus funds, prosecutors said.
Sheila Dunlap, 52, was sentenced by US District Judge Susan Illston. Prosecutors have not charged Dunlap’s son and accomplice Darnell Williams because he is on death row for two counts of first-degree murder, including the murder of an 8-year-old girl.
While in San Quentin State Prison, Williams allegedly gave Dunlap the identities of hundreds of people so she could use them to file fraudulent EIP claims. According to court records, Dunlap filed 121 false claims and earned $145,000. She will be required to pay restitution as part of the sentence.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys agreed on a 27-month sentence.
Dunlap’s attorney, Assistant Federal Public Defender Candace Mitchell, wrote in a brief sentencing opinion that Dunlap’s life was a constant struggle, that she had been abused since childhood, and that she finally found some stability when she committed crimes.
“As a result of the conviction, Ms. Dunlap has lost her job and her family is struggling to make ends meet. She has again found herself starting over and knows that the time she spends in custody will be a very difficult test for her family, ”Mitchell wrote. “What strikes Ms. Dunlap most of all is that at the time of the offense she was so close to being freed from the cycles that had previously shackled her.”
Dunlap pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft in March.
Williams was sentenced to death in 2016 for killing 8-year-old Alaisha Carradine of Oakland and 22-year-old Anthony Medearis of Berkeley in separate shootings in 2013, weeks apart. Prosecutors described him as obsessed with revenge for the death of a friend, causing him to target the suspected killer’s family. He opened fire on Alaisha and a group of children, a grandmother and a friend during an overnight stay, hitting everyone with shots, but, according to witnesses, killed Alaisha.
A few weeks later, during a dice game at Berkeley, Williams shot and killed Medearis, who was begging for mercy when he was shot. Prosecutors said they believed Medearis was a police informer.
Gov. Gavin Newsom has stopped executions in California: The state hasn’t executed a convicted person in 16 years, meaning all death row inmates are essentially serving life sentences pending appeal.