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Audit: California jobless agency's inaction led to fraud

Employment Development Department - EDD (FILE)
Elaine Howle
Posted at 1:55 PM, Jan 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-28 16:55:24-05

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A new audit blames California's unemployment agency for “significant missteps and inaction” that led to at least $10.4 billion in payments for fraudulent jobless claims during the pandemic.

The report released Thursday by California State Auditor Elaine Howle said the true amount of fraudulent payments is likely far higher. The agency itself this week said it's investigating another $20 billion in payments for possible fraud.

Howle said last spring the federal government warned the Employment Development Department it was at risk for increased fraud. But the agency waited four months to make any substantive changes.

The agency said the Trump administration did not provide it enough support, while Howle said state officials missed fraud because of their lax approach.