• Matt Esnayra

EDD says 10% of the $114 Billion in unemployment payments were fraudulent claims

Officials from the California Employment Development Department (EDD) announced Monday, that about 10% of the $114 billion in unemployment benefits California has spent since the start of the pandemic, were stolen through fraudulent claims.

OK, what's happening:

Fraud at the EDD has been so out of hand that thousands of inmates in state, county, and federal prisons were able to scam the state for over $140 million, CBS News reported.

  • A nine member task force, made of district attorneys from across the state, discovered at least 35,000 unemployment claims have been fraudulently made on behalf of prison inmates between March and August 2020, per KCAL.

  • At least 158 claims were filed for 133 death-row inmates, resulting in more than $420,000 in benefits paid. Even the infamous wife murderer Scott Pederson filed and received unemployment.

  • EDD also classified an additional 17 percent of payments made during March 2020 and January 16, 2021 have been made to potentially fraudulent claims

But, why?

Prosecutors criticized the EDD, which has been overwhelmed by millions of claims for not cross referencing unemployment claims against a list of prisoners, as many other states do.

  • The EDD claims they have processed as many claims within the first eight weeks of the lockdown then all of 2010, the year of the Great Recession.

What thye're saying:

  • The "EDD was clearly under-prepared for the type and magnitude of criminal attacks and the sheer quantity of claims,” said EDD Director Rita Saenz. “We are focused on making the changes necessary to provide benefits to eligible Californians as quickly as possible and stopping fraud before it enters the system."

  • “EDD is now working with some of the country’s most successful fraud prevention businesses and law enforcement agencies to protect the state’s unemployment benefit system,” said California Labor and Workforce Development Agency Secretary Julie Su. “We know that many Californians are waiting on payments, and EDD is working quickly to validate their claims and get their benefits to them.”

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