David Goldstein, a CBS Los Angeles reporter, has been digging deep into California’s EDD fraud from the beginning. According to a new study by the California Center for Jobs and Economy, Unemployment insurance fraud in the state could top $8 billion!
That’s Billion, with a “B”.
It is estimated that over half a million Californians still have not received benefits, despite filing in March or April, at the beginning of the first California lockdowns.
“According to the report, billions of dollars in taxpayer funded benefits have gone to people who fraudulently filed claims and collected benefits, while many others have been unable to get much-needed financial relief.
“ ‘I think this is going to go down in history as one of the biggest demonstrations of big government incompetency in the history of California,’ Assemblyman Jim Patterson, R-Fresno, said.”
That’s an understatement. In the Central Valley, the San Joaquin District Attorney’s office is also on the case:
“Multiple households in Manteca were raided on Tuesday morning by investigators from a multijurisdictional team aimed at stamping out unemployment fraud in San Joaquin County.
“According to the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s office, the investigation began after fraud was uncovered by the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Department which jumpstarted the effort that culminated with multiple search warrants being served on Tuesday.
“The team that served the warrants in multiple locations – including two in Manteca – included representatives from the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office and the Manteca and Stockton Police Departments, investigators from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and fraud investigators from the California Employment Development Department.”
The San Joaquin County D.A. also said the raids turned up “an abundance of additional evidence”, so no doubt we will be seeing more of these types of takedowns in the near future.
And today, 32-year-old Cara Kirk-Connell pleaded guilty in the U.S. District Court of Los Angeles to obtaining more than $500,000 in COVID-19 benefits using stolen Social Security numbers and other personal information.
Merry Christmas to all, except those Californians who still haven’t received any benefits because between the malfeasance by CA EDD and the grifters who knew how to take advantage of it, there doesn’t seem to be any money left.
“ ‘The San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office Bureau of Investigations has been working to stop unemployment fraud,’ Verber Salazar said. ‘EDD is a resource available to help many who have been adversely affected by the pandemic.
” ‘In San Joaquin County, organized crime will not be allowed to steal these resources.’ ”
They have more drive than our Governor Gavin Newsom, who has pretty much ignored the malfeasance and corruption that has been occurring in California’s EDD system since the Summer. With Attorney General Xavier Becerra riding Biden’s coattails to D.C., and Secretary of State Alex Padilla jonesing for Kamala Harris’s Senate seat, apparently everyone has bigger fish to fry.
Investigate fraud? Actually do our jobs?! Ain’t nobody got time for that! They are too busy measuring the square footage of their D.C. condos.
This all comes on the heels of last month’s CA EDD debacle, where 21,000 inmates generated more than $400 million worth of unemployment checks. Some of the money went to the prisoners, some was used by the fraudsters, who used the identities of prisoners without their knowledge.
Yet, the Democrat Super Majority in the California legislature is dragging its feet on allowing prosecutors to comb prison records and dig deeper. I wrote last month about the CA_EDD sending out 38 million pieces of mail with benefit recipients’ Social Security numbers on them; yet they want to ensure they protect the Social Security numbers and personal information of the prisoners.
I. Kid. You. Not.
Prosecutors say California leaders are making it difficult to investigate plots inside prisons and jails to scam $400 million or more in unemployment benefits — one of the biggest taxpayer frauds in the state's history. https://t.co/R5jHlXBvBm @mcgreevy99 @anitachabria @LAcrimes
— Laura J. Nelson 🦅 (@laura_nelson) December 3, 2020
Republicans in the Assembly and the California Senate have been vocal and doing what they can, but when you lack the will of your colleagues on the other side, it’s akin to pissing in the wind:
New estimates suggest Newsom's EDD gave away $8.5 billion in fraudulent benefits while the pile of unpaid claims grew to 748,000 and while we as a Legislature recessed for months.
— Kevin Kiley (@KevinKileyCA) December 14, 2020
Over 5M Californians filed for unemployment & the department that's supposed to help is FAILING.
The negligence of @CA_EDD is forcing families to be unable to pay for essentials.
— Senator Shannon Grove (@ShannonGroveCA) July 2, 2020
It is not stopping them though, and Assemblyman James Gallagher, as well as Senator Shannon Grove have been getting national coverage.
This morning, I discussed the failures of the Governor’s Employment Development Department on Fox News. Despite a commitment to clear out the unemployment backlog by the end of the year, there are now nearly 750,000 Californians waiting to start collecting their benefits. pic.twitter.com/d6aixkvP8V
— James Gallagher (@J_GallagherAD3) December 12, 2020
Senator Shannon Grove wrote an opinion piece on Bakersfield.com to discuss the measures the Republican caucus is taking.
“In April, my Republican colleagues and I warned the governor about the soon to be failures of the EDD. Since then, we have continually stepped up to demand answers, request audits, introduce legislation, and hold this department accountable.
“Our taxpayers and employers who are on the hook for this fraud deserve nothing less than immediate action and if the Governor is going to continue to punt, Republicans will be right around the corner to hold him accountable.”
If California's EDD had simply set $8 BILLION in cash on fire, at least we'd have some temporary heat and light. pic.twitter.com/eHv7rBhrY1
— Soquel by the Creek (@SoquelCreek) December 16, 2020
It would be a more productive energy program than the one we have now, that’s for sure.
And lest we forget, CA EDD Secretary Julie Su, who was one of the people at the helm when ALL this stuff was going down, is at the TOP of Biden’s list to run the Department of Labor.
Someone make the nightmare stop.