LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — More than 30,000 California addresses have been targets of potential unemployment insurance fraud, according to Employment Development Department data obtained by CBS.
The data show that one Winnetka address had 5,769 individual claims attached to it, an address in Valley Village had more than 2,800 and a $78 million Bel Air mansion that just hit the market had 479 claims attached to it. Down the street, a $67 million mansion for sale had 322 claims.
And a home in Canyon Country recently put on the market has been used to file claims tied to 114 different social security numbers, according to the data.
“And every single one of them has a different name,” Mike Weaver, the homeowner, said.
Weaver, who previously spoke with CBS Los Angeles, said he has been receiving upwards of 25 letters per day from EDD — none of them addressed to him or his wife.
“I would guess that in the year 2020, there would be some type of intelligent computer system that would say, ‘Hey, red flag. There is 100 plus claims out of a home that’s 1,500-square-foot,'” Weaver said.
The EDD has acknowledged that perpetrators were using stolen identities to apply for benefits in victims’ names, and CBS Los Angeles found that a number of claims were being filed using addresses of homes recently put on the market.
But, due to EDD’s efforts to eliminate potential fraud from the system, Weaver said he and his wife had now had their legitimate unemployment claims suspended. Both lost their jobs when the pandemic hit and made the decision to leave California due to the financial hardship.
“We’re already forced to sell our house,” Weaver said. “We’re already forced out of California, what else do you want us to do?”
And while the EDD would neither confirm nor deny the findings, the department said in an email that it was working to suspend or cancel claims filed at homes experiencing high volumes while also attempting to identify and process legitimate claims.
As for the Weavers, they said they were told it could take anywhere from six to eight weeks.