Hearings on CA EDD Fraud Dovetail More Fraud in the CA Department of Health

Jeff Chiu

Forty-five year old Schenelle Flores has spent half her life working for the California Department of Health. Her Linkedin profile says she worked for CDPH for 26 years and 10 months. Straight out of high school, with no college indicated, Flores was hired on as a Staff Manager II. In 2015, she was promoted to Data Systems Branch Chief, Senior Staff Manager III.

So what did Flores do? She robbed her fellow citizens and defrauded the taxpayer out of $2 million in wire fraud.

From the Sacramento Bee:

“Flores is accused of participating in a scheme from December 2017 through November 2018 along with other individuals in Sacramento, Fresno and Orangevale to ‘divert funds from the California Department of Public Health,’ court documents say.”

This is a woman who had a secure pension and plum benefits. Flores probably could have retired and lived well, even in California. Instead, she used her position in order to enrich herself.

Sound familiar? The same day Flores was being arraigned, the California Legislature held an oversight hearing of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee and the Assembly Insurance Committee to address the $31 billion in EDD fraud and the broken system that precipitated it.

From the Orange County Register:

“An oversight hearing of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee and the Assembly Insurance Committee undertook a wide-ranging review of the EDD’s broken call center, hobbled computer system, a backlog of unemployment payments, failures to pay legitimate claims for unemployed workers and ongoing fraud problems.

“The four-hour hearing was conducted in the wake of two reports from the state auditor that documented an array of deficiencies at the EDD.”

There are citizens who applied for unemployment in March of 2020 whose claims have not even been processed, let alone paid. The miasmic web of legitimate and fraudulent claims continues to plague the poorly-managed department.

“ ‘The call volumes are not going down, they are going up,’ state Assemblymember Jim Patterson (R-Fresno) said.

“Assemblymember Mike Gipson (D-Los Angeles), offered the example of a constituent, named Josh, who has been forced to give up residing in his home.

“ ‘Josh is sleeping in his car, he has no job, people are passing by giving him money just to help ends meet,’ Gipson said. ‘He is not getting any help from the entity that is supposed to be supporting him. There is no excuse. We are in a crisis. The people of California are pissed off and so are we.’ ”

The people of California are beyond pissed. This is part and parcel of why the Recall Gavin Newsom is less than 300,000 signatures shy of its goal of 1.459 million signatures.

At the EDD hearing, State Auditor Elaine Howle warned lawmakers that the bureaucratic gears of the EDD might be too ossified to properly address the multitudinous problems.

“ ‘This is an agency that is kind of embedded in bureaucracy and old processes,’ she said. ‘We need to be more creative.’ ”

The same could probably be said for the Department of Health, especially after its science/non-science COVID regulations, and the secret data used that they cannot reveal to the news media or the public because it’s just too complicated. And hows about that vaccine rollout? But don’t tell Governor Hair Gel, he held a cheer session to tout how well everything was going. Way to gaslight and obfuscate.

The Department of Health appears to have a solution to its fraud problem, although it is far from creative. The site just listed that it is hiring for two positions: Supervising Fraud Investigator I, and a Supervising Fraud Investigator II.

We already know fraud exists, and the depth and degree is still unfolding. Instead of hiring engineers to fix the structure, they hire designers to point out the specific color of the drapes. This systemic problems are rife throughout all bureaucracies, and fraud investigators aren’t going to solve it.