By CBSLA Staff

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Nearly 1.5 million unemployment claims have been frozen in California attempt to stop widespread fraud.

The Employment Development Department said this week it has uncovered about 3.5 million “potentially fraudulent” claims related to the coronavirus unemployment relief program.

Nearly two million claims have already been disqualified and payment was suspended for about 1.5 million others.

Unemployment fraud has run rampant throughout the country since the pandemic left millions of people without work in the spring. California has been particularly hard hit, and officials admitted to paying millions of dollars to fraudulent applicants.