A woman who is serving a life sentence for murder in California is charged with masterminding a $2 million fraud scheme involving COVID-19 unemployment money from behind bars, federal prosecutors said Tuesday.
Federal prosecutors have indicted 10 people for allegedly stealing $2.7 million in unemployment funds with the help of California EDD contract worker.
A group of California advocates are claiming victory after reaching a settlement with the EDD over providing more language services to non-English speakers. Among the key provisions is $21 million to enhance multilingual services.
Many recipients, freelancers or small business owners, who received pandemic relief, say they don't have specific documents that can definitively prove they were seeking work or working.
California's Employment Development Department has frozen 345,000 claims for disability benefits while it investigates fraud and a widespread identity theft scam. The EDD's suspicions were piqued by a sudden surge in applications for benefits.
Former USC football player Abdul-Malik McClain allegedly organized and assisted a group of other USC football players in filing fraudulent claims for hundreds of thousands of dollars of COVID-19 unemployment benefits.
About one million Californians who got unemployment payments from the pandemic-related federal benefit program now have to prove they had a prior work history or possibly pay back the money.
State officials blamed nearly all of that fraud on a hastily approved expansion of unemployment benefits by Congress that let people who were self-employed get weekly checks from the government with few safeguards to stop people from getting benefits who were not eligible to receive them.
In California, new coronavirus cases are at their lowest point since the start of the pandemic, schools have fully reopened and the more generous unemployment benefits from the federal government have expired — all signs of what should have been a robust economic recovery in September.
Gov. Newsom signed a law requiring the California prison system to share the names and Social Security numbers of inmates with EDD.
A California inmate and his wife, a nurse, were allegedly part of a scheme that bilked the California EDD for $2 million in fake claims.
Desmond Sylva, 39, was so frustrated about reaching the Employment Development Department to find out why he wasn't getting his unemployment check after being laid off as a Tesla production associate in Fremont, he hired a bot.
After receiving $316 million under the federal CARES Act to reduce the impact of COVID-19 on unhoused people, the California Department of Housing and Community Development “did not take critical steps to ensure those funds promptly benefited that population,” the state auditor’s office said.
State senators and assembly members have already become one of the few ways that unemployed people can get through to EDD. But does the typical Californian know that they can turn to their legislator for help?
As a result of a class action lawsuit, the EDD must now stop its policy of freezing benefits for people whose existing claims have eligibility questions and instead continue sending checks while they investigate the problem.
Federal officials said the two inmates worked from their respective correctional facilities at Kern Valley State Prison and California Correctional Institute in coordination with someone on the outside to submit false unemployment claims.
More than 100 false claims to California’s Employment Development Department netted $1 million for eight people, and five of them also got more than $60,000 that they weren’t due from the Louisiana Workforce Commission, officials said.
Prosecutors allege that the men, who had met in prison, bilked mainly homeless people or transients who were living off Social Security or disability payments by pretending to counsel them.
Two USPS employees, Christian Jeremyah James and Armand Caleb Legardy, pleaded guilty in Los Angeles to federal criminal charges accusing them of unlawfully buying and cashing tens of thousands of dollars' worth of postal money orders with unemployment benefits fraudulently obtained with false claims of COVID-related job losses.
EDD claimants are learning that when a year's worth of claims have been collected, they're terminated unless they jump through a bureaucratic hoop. EDD says it was just a glitch.