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EDD Recovers $1.1 billon in unemployment insurance funds

Recovery follows EDD’s recent thwarting of 47,000 potentially fraudulent claims worth up to $560 million.

The  California Employment Development Department (EDD) recovered $1.1 billion in unemployment insurance funds following a wave of fraud attempts during the pandemic. 

Authorities located the recovered funds in approximately 780,000 inactivated benefit cards, most of which will be returned to the federal government because the fraudulent claims targeted the emergency federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. 

Former U.S. Attorney McGregor W. Scott was hired by the EDD and Governor Gavin Newsom’s Office of Emergency Services to help prosecute those who defrauded the federal government. Scott supports state, federal and local investigations and prosecutions to combat fraud. 

“We will continue working with law enforcement to put fraudsters behind bars and recover every stolen dollar that we can,” Scott said.

 Over 20 million people filed over 60 million unemployment, disability insurance, and paid family leave claims over the past decade. EDD prepared, printed, and mailed 45 million documents to customers through the most recent fiscal quarters. EDD was mailing nearly 600,000 documents a day during the height of the pandemic.

According to collected data in the past 15 months, the EDD has seized $3,474,488, conducted 1,525 investigations, arrested 467 individuals, and carried out 162 convictions. 

The EDD thwarted 47,000 potentially fraudulent insurance claims in May, worth up to $560 million filed by paper and fax. The department said it normally expects to receive roughly seven thousand such applications in that time frame. 

Californians who suspect fraudulent activity, including those receiving mailed EDD notices and did not apply for benefits, should report the fraud as indicated on the mailed notice and call 1-866-401-2849 for assistance. Californians can also report benefits fraud by visiting Report Fraud in Ask EDD. EDD has additional resources to help identity theft victims on the Help Fight Fraud webpage.