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California EDD In The Hot Seat For Unemployment Fraud Concerns

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Sonora, CA — Concerns are growing about possible widespread fraud at California’s unemployment agency and an emergency audit has been approved.

Citizens have reported finding unsolicited letters, some even with debit cards inside, from the agency in their mailboxes. Republican Assemblyman Jim Patterson of Fresno is shining a light on the issue, “People all over the state are being sent debit cards and social security numbers that do not belong to them. We are finding instances of thousands of dollars taken by fraud from individuals accounts.”

Another concern, the U.S. Department of Labor reported that last week the state processed more than 405,000 pandemic unemployment assistance claims, accounting for more than half of all claims filed in the country. Patterson criticizes, “I’m not going to make the claim that the EDD is an inside job, but I’m getting close. We’ve got to find out whether the ring is inside or outside.”

The agency says it is developing methods to stop and prevent fraudulent claims from being paid. Meanwhile, the Joint Legislative Audit Committee approved an emergency audit of the state’s unemployment agency, including an analysis of claims that are approved, denied, pending, and backlogged.

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the EDD has paid $76.9 billion in unemployment benefits, processing more than 11.9 million claims. On Wednesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom admitted that he is “concerned about fraud in this space” and that the state is working with local and federal authorities. He added, “It is a top priority for all of us.”