If you’re looking for the latest EDD news, look no further. In this California state-specific update, you’ll learn about the latest changes in this agency. The agency’s director and chief deputy director for external affairs, legislation, and policy, Rita Saenz, have been leading important reforms since their appointments in 2020. Together, they’ve made major strides to better serve working Californians and protect taxpayers from fraud. Additionally, they’ve strengthened the EDD’s systems to catch fraud and hold bad actors accountable.
The state and federal governments have passed laws that require the EDD to seek repayment of any funds given to a recipient who cannot repay the funds. However, the California EDD does not require repayment of funds provided if the person cannot pay them back or if they are unable to do so because of fraud or extraordinary hardship. These laws were passed in an effort to claw back the $20 billion California has lost due to fraudulent claims. California is leading the way with a state-wide investigation into unemployment fraud.
The Employment Development Department (EDD) has a chronic backlog of jobless claims, one of the highest fraud rates in state history, and no transparency. These problems first came to light during the COVID-19 pandemic in California, but they are nothing new. This issue has been exacerbated by the exponential growth of the number of claims filed. Even before this epidemic, the EDD was unable to answer phone calls outside of 8 am and noon.
Thankfully, the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office recently announced two arrests related to EDD fraud. These individuals were caught with dozens of fraudulently obtained EDD debit cards. Authorities say they used stolen identities to file fraudulent applications and received hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash. The DA estimates the pair may have received upwards of $600,000 in cash from fraudulent applications. However, the investigation has not been limited to just this case.
The new investigative adviser for the EDD revealed that the department has not implemented all of the recommendations from a state audit and is only partially implementing them. Despite this, EDD officials have introduced legislation to address fraud prevention and corruption. In the meantime, however, prosecutors and the legislature are continuing their investigation. It will be interesting to see how the new administration will handle this scandal. If the DAs’ announcement is true, then Californians will get a chance to see if it can save the state a significant amount of money.
The EDD is facing massive public outcry and has launched sweeping reforms. Among the reforms, nine Assembly members have proposed changes to jails and prisons. The office of the Claimant Advocate will be formed and $55 million allocated to address the EDD fraud issue. This is an extremely important step to prevent further fraud. But the California legislature will need to act now if they want to solve this issue.
The EDD is now conducting investigations to prevent further abuses of public funds. The EDD contacts potential employers and verifies employment applications. Once they have collected enough evidence, the investigation may continue with criminal charges. If it continues, the EDD will seek a lawsuit to recover its money. This is a serious crime that carries a heavy penalty. The recipient could face years in state prison. This can put their livelihood in jeopardy.
California’s EDD has been facing a new wave of fraudulent claims involving faxed and paper jobless benefits. The EDD has identified as many as 47,000 such claims as potentially fraudulent, and estimates the total amount of money at risk is $560 million. In response to these problems, EDD has hired a former federal prosecutor, McGregor Scott, to serve as a special counsel. He will work with a task force at the state Office of Emergency Services.
Fraud detection and prevention is essential to the fight against identity theft. Fraud filters in California were designed to detect these schemes before they can cause any damage. In addition to using fraud detection software, EDD has invested in cutting-edge document production and distribution systems to ensure Californians are kept informed during this pandemic. These filters are tough in California, and Scott’s actions have helped the agency fight fraud.
There are many ways to cheat the EDD. For starters, fraudsters must report all their income, including ill-gotten benefits, including alimony. They must also keep detailed records of their wages and jobs. Fraudulently claiming Disability Insurance benefits is also a violation. Federal prosecutors have recently announced charges against Nyika Gomez, a former EDD contract employee, who is accused of fraudulently claiming pandemic unemployment insurance benefits.