The California Department of Employment Development and the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, or Cal OES, released updates Wednesday on the “monumental effort” to investigate and prosecute criminals who defrauded federal unemployment benefit programs. in 2020, work involving more than 1,400 active investigations and at least 130 criminal convictions.EDD and Fraud Special Counsel McGregor W. Scott also recently identified and referred to federal authorities 30 other major fraud cases involving $54 million in benefits, primarily associated with the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program.
These 30 investigations involved fraud schemes that cross state or international borders, as well as some schemes within California.
“Fraudsters targeted California and every state in the country with unprecedented criminal activity in 2020,” Scott said. “These criminals defrauded taxpayers and stole benefits from workers in need. California responded aggressively with new anti-fraud measures that blocked billions of dollars in fraud attempts. We are now engaged in a monumental effort to uncover these complex fraud schemes and deliver investigations to law enforcement and prosecutors throughout California.”
As a Special Fraud Advisor, Scott assists the state’s work with law enforcement to combat fraud, including supporting state, federal, and local investigations and prosecutions.
Working with the EDD, Scott has drawn on his experience to provide leads and evidence that aid prosecutions and strengthen ongoing investigations. Hundreds of investigations have been opened and dozens of suspects have been arrested, criminally charged and convicted.