By CBSLA Staff

BEVERLY HILLS (CBSLA) — The Beverly Hills Police Department launched an investigation into possible EDD fraud that has led to nearly 50 arrests and over $2.5 million on fraudulent EDD cards, officials announced Wednesday.

In a press release, officials said that the BHPD “learned criminals were fraudulently obtaining EDD benefits loaded onto EDD debit cards using stolen identities” at the beginning of September.

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Since Sept. 3, police have arrested 44 Beverly Hills residents who are responsible for EDD fraud and identity theft, according to the release. Additionally, 129 fraudulent EDD credit cards have been recovered, valuing over $2.5 million.

Over $289,000 in U.S. currency and seven handguns were also seized from those arrested.

“There are millions of tax dollars being spent fraudulently as a result of this trend,” Police Chief Dominick Rivetti said in a statement. “The Beverly Hills Police Department is also working closely with our business community to keep them well informed of this trend in an effort to mitigate these crimes within our city.”

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EDD cards can hold as much as $20,000. Cardholders are able to access up to $1,000 per day, per card.

According to the press release, the suspects had usually traveled from out of the state to obtain these fraudulent California EDD cards. Often, they had numerous EDD cards in their possession affiliated with other people’s identities, along with large amounts of cash.

Suspects generally use the money to lease short-term rentals, rent luxury vehicles, dine at restaurants, and purchase high-end merchandise, officials said.

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Anyone with information about possible EDD fraud is asked to call the Beverly Hills Police Department at (310) 285-2125 or submit an anonymous tip by texting BEVHILLSPD followed by the tip information to 88877.