Inmates scheming EDD out of hundreds of millions of unemployment benefits


FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) – It’s being called the largest fraud scheme in California’s history by district attorneys across the state.

Inmates are receiving hundreds of millions of dollars worth of unemployment benefits.

In the Central Valley, more than 800 claims have fraudulently been made and more than $3.6 million have been paid out to Pleasant Valley State Prison inmates.

Some of the money is in the hands of high level criminals.

Claims have been made in the names of Scott Peterson, convicted for murdering his pregnant wife, and Cary Stayner, convicted for murdering four women near Yosemite National Park.

“They have failed utterly and completely,” Assemblyman Jim Patterson said Tuesday, criticizing the EDD.

Inmates have schemed the system out of hundreds of millions of dollars.

“It is perhaps, and will be, the biggest fraud of tax payer dollars in California history,” Anne Marie Schubert, Sacramento County District Attorney, said.

“Without a doubt this will be the greatest fraud scheme we’ve ever seen,” Lisa Smittcamp, Fresno County District Attorney, said.

In a span of only six months inmates across California have successfully filed more than 20,000 unemployment claims.

Death row inmates have received tens of thousands of dollars apiece.

A single prisoner filed as many as sixteen claims.

“It’s despicable,” Smittcamp said. “It’s a scheme that’s catching on like wildfire.”

District Attorneys across the state reminding people the money scammed out of the EDD is taxpayer dollars.

“As a taxpayer, all of us need to be really angry about all of this,” another California district attorney said.

Inmates are getting money using their real names and fake ones successfully making their way through the EDD.

The Fresno County District Attorney says it’s happening here too.

In the press conference, the Sacramento DA said 35 states have a system in place that cross match jail and prison data with government assistant programs that acts as a checks and balance.

When asked why California doesn’t have a checks and balance system, here’s Smittcamp’s response.

“I think that’s a good question to ask our governor and the people who are running the show up in Sacramento.”

A letter from district attorneys in California was sent to Governor Newsom on Monday asking for assistance in stopping the scheme.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

CBS47 On Your Side

Do you have a problem that you need help solving? Contact CBS47 and let us be On Your Side.

Phone: 559-761-0383