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State Reports $20-Billion In Fraudulent EDD Payments

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Sacramento, CA — During a hearing at the state capitol, it was announced that at least $20-billion has been paid out in fraudulent benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The figure was relayed by Employment Development Department Director Rita Saenz during an oversight hearing. The Associated Press reports that it was actually less than state officials had initially believed. In January, the estimate was $30-billion. However, it still represents over 11-percent of the benefits paid out by the state during the pandemic.

Scammers used names ranging from those of prison inmates to US Senator Diane Feinstein when submitting claim requests.

The US Inspector General for the Labor Department reports that the problem has been nationwide as an estimated $87-billion in fraudulent payments have been dispersed by states.

At the California legislative hearing, Republican Assemblyman Tom Lackey used an illustration of 29 dump trucks filled with $100 bills to represent nearly half of the money lost to fraud. He added that all of the money could have purchased 16,700 California homes.

State Auditor Elaine Howle told lawmakers that many recommendations her office recently recommended to reduce fraud have now been implemented by EDD, however, she indicated the department still has much work to do.