Three Inland Empire women were arrested and charged this week for illegally obtaining COVID-related unemployment benefits in names of prison inmates and scamming the California Employment Development Department out of a combined $1.2 million, federal prosecutors allege.
Officials say the state has paid at least $11 billion in benefits to people whose identities it has been unable to verify, which they say is likely fraud. Of that, $810 million was tied to ineligible prisoners.
California State Auditor Elaine Howle said the agency was slow to react to warnings of an increase in fraudulent claims, saying this inaction cost the state billions as criminals exposed weaknesses in the system.
Auditor Elaine Howle told the governor that as a result, more than 800,000 people waited longer than 21 days—EDD's measure of how quickly it should process a claim—to receive their first benefit payments.
Criminal rings stole over $11 billion in unemployment benefits from California last year and nearly $20 billion more is considered suspicious.
California is reporting a surge in coronavirus unemployment claims last week for independent contractors, gig workers and the self-employed — the category of benefits blamed for much of the state’s fraudulent payments.
More than $40 million in California funding intended to help people left jobless by the coronavirus pandemic probably went to inmates in out-of-state jails and prisons, officials said.
As more Americans became unemployed during the COVID-19 pandemic, EDD fraud and theft skyrocketed.
An arraignment was scheduled Friday for a Pasadena man who faces federal charges after he allegedly used stolen identities to steal unemployment insurance benefits and then used the funds to purchase a Maserati SUV.
The Internal Revenue Service, state tax agencies and the tax industry on Wednesday warned of a new text scam created by thieves that attempts to trick people into disclosing bank account information under the guise of receiving the $1,200 Economic Impact Payment.
More than two dozen people have been arrested since Sept. 10 in Torrance for alleged unemployment benefits fraud and identity theft, police reported Wednesday.
At least 350,000 debit cards filled with money for unemployment benefits in California have been frozen because of suspected fraud, state officials said, revealing how prevalent the problem has become now that the state has paid more than $105 billion in benefits since March.
A woman was arrested at a Riverside courthouse last week for allegedly stealing several identities to fraudulently obtain EDD unemployment benefits, authorities said Monday.
An up and coming rapper who boasted in a YouTube music video for his song "EDD", which is about getting rich from committing unemployment benefits fraud was arrested Friday in Los Angeles on federal charges of carrying out that very scheme
Many of the stories you see on FOX 11 News and Good Day LA are the result of people reaching out to us via our social media channels. They are all worthy stories, but this one was particularly touching - at least to us.
Officials say California will not accept new unemployment claims for the next two weeks as the state works to prevent fraud and reduce a backlog as more than 2 million people are out of work statewide during the coronavirus pandemic.
Beverly Hills...famous stores, fancy cars, and these days it's ground zero for scammers ripping off other peoples' unemployment benefits to buy expensive things for themselves.
The Beverly Hills police are cracking down on fraud and identity theft.
In a very unusual move California legislators, who are off session till January, have come together to call for an emergency audit of the California Employment Development Department (EDD). FOX 11’s Christina Gonzalez has been following up on the complaints; many coming from FOX 11 viewers who are helping us share their stories.
FOX 11 brought you a story on Tuesday about apparent fraud involving the Employment Development Department and that got the attention of some of our viewers.