LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — California’s Employment Development Department has been crippled with fraudulent claims, which appear to continue flooding in.
The U.S. Labor Department says California received an additional 77,000 unemployment claims last week, compared to the week before. The number is so large, it accounts for more than a quarter of all such claims submitted nationally.READ MORE: LA County To Expand Access To Coronavirus Vaccine To More Essential Workers Starting Monday
The claims fall under a program Congress approved last year to give unemployment benefits to people during the pandemic who are usually not eligible. But the broad requirements have made it a huge target for fraud.READ MORE: Meet The Giltinis: LA's New Rugby Team to Open Play At Coliseum March 20
Since the pandemic shut down huge swaths of business across California and put millions of people out of work, the state has been straining to meet the demand, while also trying to filter out fraudulent claims. Inmates have been found to be filing claims in large numbers, a rapper was arrested after allegedly boasting in a YouTube music video about getting rich off bogus claims, and people have been arrested all over Southern California in possession of fraudulent EDD debit cards and luxury goods like a Maserati purchased with the ill-gotten funds.
Bank of America has said an estimated $2 billion in EDD funds have been paid to bogus claims.MORE NEWS: High Winds Expected To Continue Through Sunday For Parts Of SoCal
EDD has frozen and disqualified millions of claims because they may be fraudulent.