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California paid $400 million in jobless benefits to inmates

By Adam Beam | 1 December 2020

ASSOCIATED PRESS — California sent about $400 million in fraudulent unemployment benefit payments to state prisoners, a state official said Tuesday, nearly triple the amount disclosed last week and a number that could grow as a criminal investigation continues.

Nine county district attorneys and a federal prosecutor are investigating unemployment fraud involving payments from the California Employment Development Department, which was under intense pressure to quickly process millions of claims as the economic impact from the coronavirus intensified last spring.

Criminals took advantage by submitting numerous fraudulent claims, many of which were approved by the state. Prosecutors discovered the fraud included inmates working with people outside the prisons and last week estimated $140 million was paid to about 20,000 prisoners between March and August. […]

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