By CBSLA Staff

SACRAMENTO (CBSLA) – A Laguna Beach lawmaker is leading an effort to crackdown on unemployment insurance fraud after prosecutors across California discovered multiple fraud rings involving state prisoners.

Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach) introduced Assembly Bill 110 requiring the Employment Development Department (EDD) to access incarceration records for the purpose of cross-checking benefit applications.

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The bill was co-authored by is co-authored by Assemblymembers David Chiu and Adrin Nazarian, and Senator Ben Allen.

If adopted, the measure would require the EDD to perform such checks regularly as part of its fraud prevention efforts before approving benefits to verify claimants’ information including social security numbers, against the relevant information in the database of inmate information maintained by CDCR and by the counties.

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The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) would be required to work with EDD to facilitate the cross-check process under the law.

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Petrie-Norris says AB 110 is needed because California law is unclear whether inmate information can be shared with other state agencies.

“The government must do a better job as custodian of our hard-earned taxpayer dollars,” said Petrie-Norris. “AB 110 will enable EDD to implement basic business processes so these outrageous failings aren’t repeated.”

Last month, nine district attorneys from across the state formed a task force to tackle EDD fraud after discovering more than 35,000 claims filed between March and August in the names of inmates.

Of those claims, prosecutors found 20,000 have been paid out — totaling more than $140 million.

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AB 110 includes an urgency clause and would take effect immediately upon enactment.