Home>Articles>California’s 2020 Unemployment Fraud Claims May Top $31 BILLION

California Secretary of Labor Julie Su. (Youtube)

California’s 2020 Unemployment Fraud Claims May Top $31 BILLION

Labor and Workforce Development Agency Secretary Julie Su announces increased EDD benefit backlog

By Evan Symon, January 26, 2021 2:24 am

California Labor and Workforce Development Agency Secretary Julie Su announced Monday that, in 2020, fraudsters stole at least $11.4 billion in unemployment benefits from California.

Su also noted that another $20 billion may have also been stolen  by identity thieves and foreign criminals, possibly making as much as 27% of all EDD unemployment benefits being sent to fraudsters last year.

The current confirmed number, $11.4 billion, or around 10% of all unemployment funds given out, dwarfs the previous released amount, which was at $2 billion in early January. While there were some concerns that it could go as high as $8 billion, no estimate had even come close to $11.4 billion until Su’s announcement Monday.

“There is no sugarcoating the reality,” explained Secretary Su said. “California did not have sufficient security measures in place to prevent this level of fraud, and criminals took advantage of the situation.

“It should be no surprise that EDD was overwhelmed, just like the rest of the nation’s unemployment agencies. As millions of Californians applied for help, international and national criminal rings were at work behind the scenes working relentlessly to steal unemployment benefits using sophisticated methods of identity theft.”

According to Su, nearly all the fraudulent claims were made through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program. The program, which gives unemployment benefits to those who would otherwise not receive them, such as independent contractors and gig workers,  had been giving warning signs of mass fraud for some time now, with reports last week warning of a huge rise in fraudulent cases. Some Californian  officials played down the warnings, while others, like former EDD heads, said that the figures would be very high.

Su, who is expected to be elevated to Deputy Secretary of Labor in Washington by President Joe Biden soon, also played down the large rise on Monday, noting that fraud was happening nationwide, and that some states, such as Washington, have seen $600 million worth of fraudulent claims.

At least $11.4 billion lost

Financial experts told the Globe that what happened in California is incomparable to anywhere else.

“This is inexcusable.” explained Linda Ballard, a Los Angeles-based accountant who has been helping people affected by the COVID-19 recession. “10%, or over $11 billion, is way too much. If it is worst case, at over $30 billion, that’s incomprehensible how that could have happened.”

“A lot of people are willing to give the EDD some slack for the early days. They were honestly unprepared for such a flood of new claims, and early on in the pandemic, it was all about getting assistance out fast.”

“But that goodwill ends when they stopped looking into claims and doing quick checks on claimants to see if they were incarcerated, were toddlers, or were dead. But they didn’t. Neither did they questions claims where hundreds of other EDD cards were being sent address-wise or those using obvious fake names.”

“The EDD was underprepared, which was not entirely their fault, then never given immediate corrective support. The legislature, the Governor, someone could have put out the emergency call or sacrificed speed for accuracy, but it never happened. The government could have eased on the restrictions a bit to allow more jobs being open, but that didn’t happen either. So now the state is out billions. Tens of billions. Eleven figures.”

While Su did place some blame on the Trump Administration for not giving fraud support or putting in assistance safeguards, many lawmakers from both parties squarely put the blame on the state’s handling of it on Monday.

In addition to the $11.4 billion fraud figure, Su also noted that the EDD backlog of unfilled claims, once estimated to have been completed by the end of January, still had nearly 1 million uncompleted claims on Monday, sitting at 941,019. While new claims are undergoing more scrutiny, coupled with recent climbs in unemployment, the slowdown of clearing the backlog from 2020 continues to keep many Californians away from receiving quick unemployment benefits.

“The cherry on top of the news on Monday,” added Ballard. “People like Newsom are barely hanging on by a thread right now. This news, which replaced the reopening news from earlier today, is not going to help their situation.”

More accurate EDD figures are expected later this week from audits by State Auditor Elaine Howle.

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24 thoughts on “California’s 2020 Unemployment Fraud Claims May Top $31 BILLION

  1. “While Su did place some blame on the Trump Administration for not giving fraud support or putting in assistance safeguards”
    This is a state agency – why would they rely on the federal government for fraud support and assistance safeguards.
    This is just an example of California wanting to run the show but not being ready for prime time.
    The government just lost 11Billion to 30Billion of our money and they say its someone else’s fault. Actually Ms. Su says California’s mega Billion dollar mistakes aren’t so bad because other states like Washington lost $600 million. Oh so that’s ok. We are winning because other people lost less than we did…?
    This is not play money people. This is money that they took from us and threw it away down a hole and burned it.
    We can’t afford this anymore.
    Sign the recall.

      1. That was YOUR money they flushed….

        We should be burning down the castle walls, people…

        And that dumbass is going to get PROMOTED to Beijing Biden’d Federal crew???

        For WHAT??? Being one of the biggest screwups in the Nation???

        Ohhhh, right…. She’s a woman, and Asian… A “two-fer” in the Biden diversity parade of incompetents of virtue signaling…sorry I questioned the appointment…

  2. Funny, what is Su going to do now that Trump is out of office? Who is she going to blame for her boondoggle? Mmm, maybe her dog?

    Good liberal politicians never take responsibility for their “mistakes”, and instead get rewarded with a promotion to the federal government to inflict pain on the entire nation.


  3. the money was stolen by people who almost 100% knew they were stealing. so, literally billions went to bad actors all over the state. this is so terrible due to its massive scale that i have been sitting here for 20 minutes trying to take it in. at least 11 billion $ is unfathomable and the outside possible 31 billion $ leaves me with no descriptor.

  4. I’ll bet The National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) supports Julie Lu not only in California but as Biden’s nominee for the Department of Labor. If she can screw up in California with 11 billion in fraudulent payments, imagine what she can do in D.C.

  5. The legacy of a blue unionized california: corruption, fraud, releasing criminals, over taxing, over spending, sanctuary for illegals and homeless. Let us not forget anti-business and friendly to unions, spies and our enemies. Sorry but unions are run by elitist oligarchs and could care less for the works or those they serve.

  6. Another business school case study on state government incompetence. This is truly unacceptable and should anger every Californian enough to get Newsom gone.

  7. Good God! This incompetent idiot is being considered for a Federal job!! WTF? She should be fired and prosecuted. (Yeah, I know, by whom? The Newsome machine is totally corrupt/incompetent). And, of course, you hear nothing but crickets from the MSM. We’re talking BILLIONs. We’re doomed.

  8. So I am not usually a political person, but I lost my job to this COVID-19. My whole life was flipped upside down. I was going to be homeless with no where to live, finding out in March congratulations I’m having a babyboy ❤️ You’re 3 months along????. I felt stuck!!! By 4 1/2months I was showing and no one wanted to take the risk in hiring me due to the pandemic. I couldn’t have a baby where I was living at the time, I was being forced to have to leave, and with no job apartments weren’t taking people on unemployment. I broke down in my car… I cried thinking of my son knowing he was coming and thinking I was going to have to give him up for adoption, I cried for weeks trying to think of a way to be able to survive & keep him . I fought with myself back and forth on what I should do. I realized more then ever that Newsome’s reluctance to open things back up and constantly re-closing things put so many people into hard positions where we were suffering to the point of pure desperation for a means to survive, but of course he wouldn’t know what that’s like because his pay and livelihood was payed no matter what shut down. Even tho my parents didn’t want their 30 yr old daughter coming to live with them, especially pregnant and I didn’t want to have to come back like a failure either… “Talk about a failure to fully launch”. last minute after my every effort to try to figure things out and sleeping in my car with my baby bump they let me temporarily come home till I could get on my feet ????. I got lucky and kept my son, but there is still a lot of damage that’s been done because of the governors actions he took during this pandemic.
    Just wondering…. does anyone else feel like I feel. I feel he is responsible for every area of the deviation and issues California is going through… Anyone else???

    1. Anonymous Feb. 2 2021 11:45 PM. No husband, no savings, questionable relationship with parents and wanting to blame only one other person, the governor. (Sounds like a bot somebody programmed for political gain)

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