Sacramento, CA–In another major step toward continuing to investigate fraudsters and recover unemployment insurance funds, the California Employment Development Department (EDD) today announced it has recovered $1.1 billion in unemployment insurance funds.
The recovered funds were located on approximately 780,000 inactivated benefit cards. Most of the recovered funds will return to the federal government because the fraudulent claims are from the emergency federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which was the primary target of fraud nationwide.
Today’s billion-dollar recovery furthers the monumental efforts of EDD and the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services to investigate and prosecute criminals who defrauded federal emergency unemployment benefit programs. Within the past 15 months, total investigations, prosecutions, and dollars seized in the counties reporting information to the state include:
- Total investigations– 1,525
- Arrests– 467
- Money seized– $3,474,448
- Convictions– 162
Other actions California has taken to strengthen its fraud fighting include:
- Stopping over $125 billion in attempted fraud by deploying a new identity verification system, ID.me, in 2020 and partnering with Thomson Reuters to help detect and prevent UI and PUA fraud.
- Setting up the 1099-G call center to help victims of identity theft deal with any tax related questions—work that answered 24,000 calls. Fraud can be reported by selecting Form 1099G in Ask EDD or calling 1-866-401-2849.
- Working with Bank of America to issue chip-enabled debit cards that enhance security and to strengthen fraud-prevention strategies.
- Working with the California Office of Emergency Services Fraud Task Force on over a thousand active investigations, arrests, and prosecutions across California.
- Creating law enforcement investigative guides and offering technical assistance to law enforcement partners who are working fraud investigation cases.
- Setting up designated regional contacts for each division of the state and working with any agency that needs assistance with an unemployment insurance fraud case.
- Continuing to issue consumer scam alerts throughout the pandemic that warn about cell phone and email phishing schemes designed to steal personal information.