SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California has paid at least $20 billion in fraudulent unemployment benefits since the start of the pandemic. Employment Development Department Director Rita Saenz confirmed the number to state lawmakers during an oversight hearing Monday.
That number is less than state officials originally had feared. But it still represents more than 11% of all benefits paid since the start of the pandemic.
State Auditor Elaine Howell said the state has made good progress in adopting some of its recommendations from an audit released in January. But the auditor's office said the department has more work to do.