Over 35,000 EDD Claims Filed For Calif. Prison Inmates, Including Scott Peterson

Cornelia Mascio
Novembre 27, 2020

Scott Peterson, convicted of killing his wife, Laci Peterson, and their unborn child, was among the inmates at California's prisons and jails who filed hundreds of millions of dollars in unemployment claims since the pandemic started, district attorneys said Tuesday.

"That money was stolen from the coffers of the California government", said Schubert, who was joined by district attorneys from Kern and El Dorado counties and a United States attorney Tuesday. "And it's not just happening here".

Newsom issued a statement thanking the district attorneys "for their commitment to resolving this issue", according to The New York Times.

California, like many states, has struggled with unemployment abuse during the pandemic.

"We determined there were 22 individuals who had pulled this scam off", both from inside the jail and out, Wagstaffe said.

Schubert said the state has paid out at least $140 million in benefits.

However, inmates have been able to circumvent that process by requesting help from people outside of the prison system. Economists widely credit the expanded benefits programs, along with other forms of federal aid, with stabilizing the economy and protecting millions of families from lasting financial harm.

In August, a fraud ring operating out of the San Mateo County jail was broken up after law enforcement officers overheard inmates talking about fake claims being filed on behalf of inmates.

Tuesday's revelation has put the state's already-beleaguered Employment Development Department back in the hot seat.

That month, a "strike team" formed by the governor to speed claims and address other chronic issues at the department issued a report recommending improvements, and the department suspended processing for two weeks to shore up controls and reduce a growing backlog.

"Take immediate actions to prevent fraud and to hold people accountable when fraud is not prevented", Newsom said in a Fox News report. They were told the tools for such crossmatching existed but had not been used.

In early fall of this year, the EDD also introduced an identification verification system that required applicants to upload identifying documents and their photo of themselves for validation.

Sacramento County district attorney described the scheme as one of the biggest frauds of taxpayer dollars in the state's history. Newsom said the effort was also based on his direction.

In a year in which California's unemployment department saw massive failures in its system while inundated with claims from those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, it's now facing more backlash after sending money to people incarcerated for rape, murder and other crimes.

They added that California's Employment Development Department added to the problem by not checking unemployment claims against a list of prison inmates, as many other states do.

Three convicted Yolo County murderers - including a sheriff's deputy's killer condemned to death row - are among tens of thousands of California inmates who unlawfully received pandemic unemployment benefits in their names under a statewide scam believed to have cost taxpayers as much as $1 billion.

In Kern County, District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer said investigators were informed of the plot in September after numerous inmate remittances arrived.

Clarification: This story now clarifies that of the 35,000 claims made by prison inmates, 20,000 were paid.

"This needs to be halted", Schubert said. Officials are still investigating the fraud cases in each county, and expect that total losses could reach hundreds of millions, or near $1 billion, an amount that cannot be easily reclaimed. "We need to turn the spigot off".

Altre relazioniGrafFiotech

Discuti questo articolo

Segui i nostri GIORNALE