California paid out $11 billion in fake jobless claims final 12 months and about $20 billion extra funds are being investigated as potential fraud, the state Labor Secretary Julie Su said on Monday.
Out of the $114 billion paid in unemployment claims between March 2020 and January 16, 2021, almost 10% have been confirmed as fraudulent, mentioned Su.
“There is no sugarcoating the reality, California did not have sufficient security measures in place to prevent this level of fraud, and criminals took advantage of the situation,” Su mentioned.
Two males in Orange County California have to date been charged, District Attorney Todd Spitzer mentioned.
32-year-old Huy Duc Nguyen of Garden Grove, and Mai Dacsom Nguyen, 40, of Garden Grove, are accused of forming Nguyen Social Services to file greater than 1,000 false unemployment claims with California’s Employment Development Department, or EDD, for individuals who didn’t qualify, alleged Spitzer.
“Including a 99-year-old applicant who indicated she lost her work as a house keeper because of COVID…when she hasn’t worked for decades,” mentioned Spitzer.
The lawyer additionally introduced three separate unrelated plots, involving 10 folks altogether that he mentioned took benefit of loopholes in the state’s unemployment system to steal almost $500,000 that ought to have gone to taxpayers in want in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Instead this money went to six state prisoners, including two convicted murderers who claimed the COVID-19 pandemic had impacted their ability to work,” mentioned Spitzer.
“This is massive organized fraud,” mentioned California Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris. “The state needs to launch a massive and organized response.”
In 2020, California processed a document quantity of unemployment profit claims as a result of COVID-19 pandemic, ensuing in greater than 5 occasions as many unemployment claims in 2020 than in 2010, Latimes reported.
Many of the claims had been processed throughout the first eight weeks of the pandemic in 2020 as the state did throughout all of 2010, based on the report.
“EDD was clearly underprepared for the type and magnitude of criminal attacks and the sheer quantity of claims,” mentioned Rita Saenz, the EDD director. “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.”
The California Labor and Workforce Development Agency Secretary Julie Su, mentioned “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.”
“We know that many Californians are waiting on payments, and EDD is working quickly to validate their claims and get their benefits to them,” Su mentioned.
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