LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — In less than two weeks, Beverly Hills Police have found 87 people who are allegedly connected to EDD fraud and identity theft.
Detectives said that they recovered 181 fraudulent EDD cards with a value of over $3.6 million. They also found another $466,000 in case and seven handguns.
Most of those arrested are not from California, police said.
“Shoes, clothing, purses. Anything of high dollar value they were spending on EDD cards,” said Beverly Hills Police Department Lt. Max Subin. “Eighty percent of the arrestees were from out of state, and they were renting Airbnb’s and renting high end cars.”
Investigators allege that the suspects were able to go to the EDD website and apply for unemployment under someone else’s name.
“They’re using people who are deceased, in jail, at nursing homes… getting someone’s personal information and entering that into the computer which would then send a card out to their address,” Subin said.
Over the weekend, EDD announced a two-week reset period designed to process claimant payments faster, reduce fraud, and tackle backlog issues.
During the reset, the EDD says individuals looking to submit a new claim for unemployment insurance benefits online will be redirected to a temporary site where they can submit their personal information. From there, the EDD will invite new claimants back to the main system when it is ready.
David Fleming of Santa Ana said he still has not received even a response from the office, let alone the money he filed for.
“There are no words, and I will get too emotional,” he said. “It’s terrible.”
The Beverly Hills Police Department said it is working with the FBI and the Department of Labor due to the scope of the fraud. Those arrested did not have weapons on them and were booked for identity theft. However, since it is a nonviolent offense, there is no bail due to coronavirus, so they are released.