Sex Offender Received $12,000 in Unemployment Benefits From Prison, Investigators Say

A convicted sex offender received almost $12,000 in unemployment benefits while behind bars, authorities claim.

Taylor Lewis Gholar, 29, was convicted for a sex crime involving a 12-year-old girl and sentenced to three years in a California prison on December 10.

While in custody, he and his girlfriend are alleged to have received $11,688 from the state after submitting an unemployment application online.

"Following this conviction, Yolo County District Attorney Investigators were alerted that Gholar was fraudulently receiving Unemployment Insurance Benefits while being housed in custody in the Yolo County Jail," a statement from the Yolo County District Attorney read.

Taylor Lewis Gholar
Taylor Lewis Gholar received unemployment benefits while in custody at the Yolo County Jail, authorities allege. Yolo County Jail

Investigators said they intercepted phone calls between Gholar and his girlfriend, Sonia Chan, from jail.

During the calls, the couple "discussed the filing of fraudulent claims" for unemployment benefits, the District Attorney said.

According to the criminal complaint, Chan submitted an unemployment application for Gholar online and received debit cards on his behalf.

"In order to be eligible for Unemployment Insurance Benefits, the applicant must be physically able and available to work and must also be ready and willing to accept work immediately," prosecutors explained. "Because Gholar was in jail, he was not legally eligible for benefits."

Both Gholar and Chan have been charged with felony violations of grand theft, making a false and fraudulent insurance claim, and conspiracy to commit fraud.

Gholar was originally sentenced for going to meet a minor for the purpose of lewd or lascivious conduct.

The convicted sex offender was employed as a West Sacramento after-school teacher when he arranged to lure his 7th-grade student victim for sex, a press release from the Yolo County District Attorney's Office read.

A jury heard evidence that he had taught the victim for three years, first meeting the young girl when she was in 2nd grade. After the victim completed 5th grade, they had no contact until she was 12 years old and in 7th grade.

Witnesses testified that on January 19, 2020, Gholar began communicating with the victim through Instagram direct messages.

The victim immediately informed Gholar that she was 12 years old. Over the course of 12 hours, Gholar asked the victim if she wanted to have sex, requested provocative photos of the victim, and sent her a pornographic photo of himself.

After the victim informed her parents, the police pretended they were the child and continued communicating through social media with Gholar.

In the early morning hours of January 20, West Sacramento police officers, posing as the child, arranged to meet Gholar under the pretense of having sex with the 12-year-old victim. When Gholar arrived he was found with condoms and arrested.

"Mr. Gholar used his position of trust as a teacher to convince a 12-year-old to have sex with him," District Attorney Jeff Reisig said at the time. "We are pleased that with the diligent efforts of law enforcement and the jury's decision, Mr. Gholar will never be a teacher again."

Newsweek has contacted the Yolo County Sheriff's Office and the Yolo County District Attorney for comment.