California’s Ballooning Unemployment Fraud: 95% is under Federal PUA Program. PUA Fraud is a “National Problem”

Fraudulent payments by California could exceed $20 billion. New security measures to prevent fraud cause delays in payments that triggered a new hullabaloo.

By Wolf Richter for WOLF STREET.

The unemployment crisis in California continues to be huge. The state is still down 1.4 million “payroll jobs,” not including work for gig workers, from December 2019. The amount the state has paid in unemployment benefits is also huge: $114 billion between March 2020 and January 16, 2021. The state processed 19.5 million claims during that time, compared to 3.8 million claims in all of 2010, the unemployment peak of the Great Recession.

To top it off, a new federal unemployment program for gig workers was thrown into the chaos with little guidance and no preparation and no instant way of verifying even the identity of the claimants – and fraud was also huge, and getting huger with each report.

Of California’s “confirmed fraudulent payments,” 95% were associated with the federal PUA (Pandemic Unemployment Assistance) program that covers gig workers. As in other states, this program has been “hit hard by fraud from international and national crime syndicates,” the Employment Development Department (EDD) reported in its latest unemployment-benefit fraud update.

California, being the first to implement the PUA program, and being the biggest state, with a population of nearly 40 million, got hit the hardest by PUA fraud.

In its new report, the EDD confirmed that 9.7% of all payments it made during that time – so roughly $11 billion – were to “fraudulent claims.”

In addition, another 17% of all claims – so roughly $19 billion – were made to “potentially fraudulent claims.” These payments are now “under investigation,” and according to officials, a large number of them will likely be confirmed as fraudulent.

Just ballparking here: the pile of fraudulent payments made by California alone could exceed $20 billion after it’s all said and done.

By comparison, in 2019, before the arrival of the PUA program, about 6% of all payments under the regular state unemployment insurance claims were made to fraudulent claims.

But the EDD was able to stop up to $60 billion in payments to fraudulent claims via its existing methods and its new methods implemented after the “two-week reset period” in September, when the EDD halted processing new claims to implement new security protections. As part of the measures, it hired ID.me to verify claimants’ identity, which no one had verified before.

Unemployment fraud is “a national problem”: Across the US, 35% of all unemployment applications are fraudulent, most of them under the PUA program, according to ID.me, cited by the EDD. Now, 21 states have implemented or are implementing ID.me to prevent fraudulent PUA claims. Currently across the states that implemented ID.me, the system is blocking $1 billion in fraudulent claims per week, according to ID.me.

“The PUA program was particularly susceptible to fraud according to the U.S. Department of Labor as it did not require income or employment verification up front and allowed claimants to back-date their claim to February,” the EDD said.

“There is no sugarcoating the reality,” said state Labor Secretary Julie Su during a press conference on Monday. “California has not had sufficient security measures in place to prevent this level of fraud, and criminals took advantage of the situation.”

“And we now know that as millions of Californians applied for help, international and national criminal rings were at work behind the scenes working relentlessly to steal unemployment benefits using sophisticated methods of identity theft,” she said.

The result of these security measures is a backlog of claims that were suspended and still need to be verified before they’re being paid – 1.2 million claims as of last week are suspended, down from 1.6 million in December. As old claims are resolved, either by being deemed fraudulent and not getting paid, or deemed OK and getting paid, new claims to be resolved are added to the pile.

This delay in paying claims due to the verification procedures now in place to prevent unemployment fraud has raised another hullabaloo that has ascended to the Legislature, after the hullabaloo raised about the ballooning fraudulent payments in prior months, that included mind-boggling stories of prisoners, some on death row, receiving unemployment payments under the PUA program with organized help on the outside.

Corporate cost cutters salivate over working from anywhere. Oh my, the free gourmet cafeteria is gone. Companies already said they’d cut salaries if folks move to cheaper locations. Read… Citing Permanent Shift to Work from Home, Dropbox Cuts 11% of its Workforce

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  93 comments for “California’s Ballooning Unemployment Fraud: 95% is under Federal PUA Program. PUA Fraud is a “National Problem”

  1. And I don’t imagine these fraudulent claims will be paying taxes on this income, either.

  2. michael says:

    A stunning demonstration of the incompetency of California state agencies and leadership.

    • Harrold says:

      “new federal unemployment program for gig workers was thrown into the chaos with little guidance and no preparation and no instant way of verifying even the identity of the claimants”

      Hmmm…I wonder who was responsible for that?

      • lenert says:

        Uber, Lyft, Doordash et al dumping their trash on the public.

      • lenert says:

        Californians voted for this, didn’t they?

        • Turtle says:

          @lenert Over and over and over.

        • Prop 22 never had a chance, and then the virus. The corporations poured money into the campaign. Seems likely next election there will be a bill to clawback some of what was in that bill, and this story will probably be ad material.

        • Sierra7 says:

          “Unemployment fraud is “a national problem”: Across the US, 35% of all unemployment applications are fraudulent, most of them under the PUA program, according to ID.me, cited by the EDD.”
          So, I guess it’s not just California. Doesn’t make it any easier to digest.
          We want a “gig” economy; we get “gig” solutions.

    • Bobber says:

      Is it intentional, or just grossly negligent? More claims, fraudulent or not, means more federal money is going to California.

      Individual and corporations have been ripping off the government shamelessly for 20 years or more. Now, maybe state governments are trying to get in on the action, while covering their faces and blaming a crisis.

      Can you blame them? Moral hazards are now firmly established. Fiscal behaviors, bailouts, lack of prosecution, etc., have encouraged irresponsibility and greed. Federal money has become a grab pot, and the printed money like fresh donuts coming off the conveyor at Krispy Kreme.

      He who looks down upon such behaviors, runs the risk of starving, financially. Integrity is punished.

      • Sam says:

        “Integrity is punished.” Aka “no good deed goes unpunished”.

        • Cas127 says:

          There is an aspect of “bank run mentality” now that the US gvts look to have a much higher probability of collapsing (design flaws go back 50 to 60 years, operational collapses have been accelerating over the last 20).

          For the honest, sacrificing majority who have propped up a rotten, rotting system for many decades, a point is reached where faith and hope are abandoned.

          At that point, those who have fought very hard to never take public assistance, see the collapse of everything on the horizon…and the only way to recoup *any* of their “pay in”…is to stop fighting and take whatever benefits exist for as long as they exist (not long).

          Not applicable to Wolf’s theme of outright fraud (another rung down of depravity) but nevertheless an important dynamic in accelerating ruin.

          The legacy of decades of aggressively unaddressed political failures.

        • p coyle says:

          Cas127:

          i think you are on to something here. The rot that started at the head has finally reached the caudal fin.

        • Mr. House says:

          “Our government… teaches the whole people by its example. If the government becomes the lawbreaker, it breeds contempt for law; it invites every man to become a law unto himself; it invites anarchy.”

          Louis D. Brandeis

        • Cas127 says:

          Superb quote, Mr. House…when the history of American ruin is written, I think that quote will become much more widely known.

          What was the original context/legal case?

        • Mr. House says:

          Can’t say Cas127. A friend sent it to me years ago while i was on a rant about the 2008 bailouts. This one also seems appropriate:

          “The greatest factors making for communism, socialism or anarchy among a free people are the excesses of capital. The talk of the agitator does not advance socialism one step. The great captains of industry and finance… are the chief makers of socialism.”

          Louis D. Brandeis

      • Camren Youtube says:

        “Is it intentional, or just grossly negligent? More claims, fraudulent or not, means more federal money is going to California.”
        Exactly. The so called massive fraud is a feature, not a bug. Zero incentive for any state to put the brakes on the federal PUA gravy train.

      • Wisdom Seeker says:

        @Bobber “More claims, fraudulent or not, means more federal money is going to California.”

        I suspect this is wrong. It sounds like fraudulent claims, filed online with no identity verification, can come from anywhere in the world.

        Note Wolf’s comment about “International and national crime rings”…

        • Anthony A. says:

          Filed from anywhere in the world……but filed with California where the identity verification process is nil.

        • Bobber says:

          The money is sent to California addresses, so many of the fraudulent claims likely have some connection to California. International fraud is likely a component as well. In all cases, it seems somebody had to be on the ground in California to receive the checks.

    • Chris Herbert says:

      No, this is a federal program. Cost cutting at the national level is matched by cost cutting at the state level. Weak, ineffective government is the problem. Top to bottom. Criminals thrive in this idiotic, ‘small government’ environment. Knuckleheads United.

    • CreditGB says:

      We elect people with zero real life experience, zero business experience, zero thinking skills, bombard them with multi million dollar lobbying schemes, give them unlimited Monopoly money to play with, unlimited time, all the creature comforts of kings and queens, and all of it with zero accountability.

      Now, can you tell me exactly what outcome you might have expected?

    • JK says:

      This is one of many reasons why Newsom needs to go. One of the biggest reasons is that B-day party of his in Napa Valley with no social distancing while small businesses are getting hammered. I was in Nevada late last year on a motorcycle trip. Went into a diner that evening by the motel and they had social distancing in the restaurant. Ok, so they were doing something. This fool has destroyed this state. Also, it’s no wonder business is leaving here. Why stay? You’re frowned upon. I have a degree in a medical field and my bi-yearly license renewal came up. It went up over 200 bucks!!! Now I got to pay 500 plus smackeroonies. Nice state, junk government. I’m looking outside this place for other options.

    • Eddy says:

      Not at all. Who were the “well informed” here? How many civil servants saw an opportunity to break free from a rote job? Crime syndicates? Nah, the people closest to the spigot. Forget about it.

    • NBay says:

      But you had already “proved to yourself” everyone in CA was as dumb as stump, long before making that comment, true?

      • NBay says:

        Make that most of y’all….not just Michael. I can see what these comments will be like….not much need to read them.

    • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

      michael-with Sierra on this. Today, Kansas-KANSAS!-has suspended its unemployment system due to fraud.

      Ask not over whom the bus rolls, it rolls over thee…

      may we all find a better day.

  3. rankinfile says:

    Guaranteed monthly income checks might show that the population of the United States is in reality pushing nearly 1 Billion people.

      • David G LA says:

        @Hugh
        Rankinfile is using sarcasm. He means that if the US gave everyone in the US UBI, the millions of fraudulent applications would make the population “triple” – on paper.

        • Wisdom Seeker says:

          But think how many votes a politician could receive with that sort of system!!!

        • Anthony A. says:

          “But think how many votes a politician could receive with that sort of system!!!”

          The system was used as recently as 11/2019!!

  4. MonkeyBusiness says:

    It’s all work of the CCP, and don’t forget … the Fed.

    ROFL.

  5. Outwest says:

    As anyone with IT experience knows, building and implementing ‘secure’ IT systems to support public policy initiatives takes time which is quite often not available.

    Even the largest and supposedly most secure private sector corporations are hacked and ripped off on a daily basis.

    There is no solution to this problem just like there are no solutions to many of the downsides to globalization.

    It’s easy to whine and complain about who’s at fault but in the end, none of our data systems can prevent fraud. We all know that.

    As always, great reporting.

    • Bobber says:

      There is no solution? That’s a ridiculous excuse.

      The solution is not to implement systems until they are ready. How about they hire a team of people to pick through the claims in some detail and perform some basic reasonableness analysis. It sounds like California could have prevented $20B fraud by hiring 100-200 temporary staff.

      How about putting a fraud consulting firm on a $1M retainer to design a quick process? You spend $1M to save $20B.

      This is an example of what gives government a bad name. Lack of accountability. Lack of common sense. Self-serving attitudes.

      • MonkeyBusiness says:

        I think it’s more than that. We were never meant to reach this level of desperation in the first place. Unemployment was meant to be a temporary blip, something that would happen but only to a small portion of the population at any one time.

        What’s missed is obviously the effect of neoliberalism and that’s down to the private sector. The Private equity industry for example destroys companies causing people to lose jobs while expecting the government to pick up the tab. I mean if these people are adding so much value, why is it that a lot of the companies they took over end up going bankrupt.

        Lack of accountability is endemic to this country, not just specific sectors. That’s what freedom means after all in the minds of Americans.

        Fully deserved!!!

        • Cas127 says:

          “why is it that a lot of the companies they took over end up going bankrupt.”

          If ZIRP hadn’t been employed for 20 years…in order to buy “calm” and re-election for generations of incumbents…then the inevitable bankruptcies would have been spread over those 20 years instead of catastrophic clumps.

          But it has been to DC’s advantage to rule through fraud (ZIRP/money printing) so it wouldn’t have to deal with the political dirty work of addressing systemic problems.

          So cancers have grown and grown.

        • MonkeyBusiness says:

          I think you are missing the point. The PE industry’s claim to fame is superior management skills. If that involves going to K Street to lobby the government to prevent bankruptcy, then that’s what they should do. Or raise new funds, or whatever.

          Instead, pretty much all of them engage in what’s called dividend recaps right from the start.

          “Dividend recapitalizations have never been a popular moneymaking technique for those outside of the private equity industry. For one, they usually only benefit a select group of investors or shareholders. And they typically damage a company’s credit rating, which can irk creditors and common retail investors. Plus, once dividend recaps are complete, the company itself has to pay back the debt or it will eventually file for bankruptcy.

          But the tactic, which involves a firm adding debt to a portfolio company so it can give itself or its shareholders a quick cash payout, seems as common as ever, with no signs of slowing.”

          But hei that’s why this is the greatest country on Earth.

        • rankinfile says:

          They leverage the companies to the hilt to pay themselves consulting fees and bonuses.That’s why the companies go bankrupt.Toys-R-Us comes to mind,a lot of people lost their pensions due to vulture capitalists.Mitt Romney and Baine Capital destroyed thousands of people’s livelihoods and retirements.

          They hollow companies out and keep moving along to the next victims.

        • rhodium says:

          Back in the day before all of this modern economy stuff and the white people showing up, native Americans used to live off the land in nature. That is the default economy. Now we have this complex beast of a system with all of its pros and cons. On the whole, people rely on it to live and survive (human population levels would not be possible otherwise) and you need money in this system. For most of us that can’t front the money for an off-grid homestead, that means a job in the modern economy. What happens when the system doesn’t leave an opening for work you can do? Or if in general it makes you terribly unhappy? There’s no going back to the land. Being a hunter gatherer is no longer an option. The default human condition is no longer an option. You either fit into the machine or you become a homeless vagabond, dead, or the lucky ones find a nice basement of a friend or family member to waste away in.

          If we were all darwinists, and took away most of the social safety net and welfare, instead of idiocracy, we might instead end up with a massive majority of soulless anxious corporate drones mindlessly fussing over social status until the planet’s ecosystem collapses and puts the nightmare to bed. Far too cynical but, I don’t see evidence of our culture improving.

          Actually, even more likely is the scenario in Elysium. It makes perfect sense that the richest guys on planet earth have their own personal NASAs.

      • Heinz says:

        Everything the gubvarmint touches turns to fraud and grift.

        Always has been, always will be. The pandemic responses just ratcheted it up, that’s all.

    • Happy1 says:

      If 10% of Amazon’s payments were fraudulent they would be out of business…

      This is a government problem, basic identity verification is fundamental to any secure payment process. Sure businesses get ripped off, but not on 10% of their transactions.

      • Turtle says:

        That’s it exactly.

      • Cas127 says:

        “basic identity verification is fundamental to any secure payment process.”

        “Voting” processes too.

        Or so the Domestic Terrorists(tm) say.

    • raxadian says:

      Fraud may not be able to be fully prevented but it can be greatly reduced.

      For example, if the USA stopped using social security numbers as an ID and got something better like basically most advanced and not so advanced countries in the World, all kinds of Fraud would be cut at least in half.

  6. Petunia says:

    Where was Silicon Valley when California needed them. They were busy outsourcing tech jobs to India and China. You hire cheap foreign labor and you get cheap execution on your projects. Plus the foreigners are scraping the data, if they have access to it, guaranteeing fraudulent activity on the system. All of this is on the shoulders of the globalist agenda supported on the political level and the business level.

    The users pay exorbitant taxes to fund shoddy systems built by foreigners with little oversight by govt or native experts. They don’t even support their own systems with an easy to use help desk or informational web page.

    Right now CA is the worst example, but other states have issues also, just to a lesser degree. I heard Floridians complaining they can’t even process an initial claim, 9 months later. No response from anybody on why.

    • Marvin says:

      Of Two Minds, about the author Charles Hugh Smith’s experience trying to get IRS computers to accept a form.

      I’m starting to think that maybe we could file an exemption from withholding and just stop paying taxes and get away with it?

      • CreditGB says:

        Heard that there are 7 plus million 2019 filed tax returns not yet scanned or data recorded. What a joke. If you paid taxes with your 2019 return, of course the check gets cashed right away and automatically credited to your SS numbered IRS account. Paperwork gets shuttled aside for scanning and data filing which is apparently now stalled out. Only on line filers’ data has been filed. Simple bureaucratic incompetence. And PLEASE, don’t throw “covid” into this.

        • Anthony A. says:

          I filed a 5500 IRS form to close a Solo 401K account in May, 2017. The IRS says they don’t have it, but I have their signed receipt of them accepting the return. Back and forth with letters for three years now and STILL not settled. Morons!

          Try to get someone on the phone to resolve this….not happening. Just get a clerk that says “send a letter”.

  7. Bobber says:

    Just about anything goes nowadays. Roll up your sleeves and dive into the moral hazard. Government seems to be promoting it with bailouts, deficits, money printing, and lack of enforcement.

    Is anybody surprised a key federal legislative official bought $1M worth of call options in December? It’s confirmation our leaders see the runaway speculation and greed in our system, yet their response is to try and profit from it. Not very inspirational or responsible.

    Where’s the integrity?

    Perhaps the crying toddlers need less candy, not more.

  8. This puts the $600 toilet seat sourced by the Pentagon to shame!! As if we as a country could afford this level of fraud and bureaucratic incompetence. It is politically expedient to get the money out fast to the starving masses (or fraudulent hucksters!!), so push out the check before you verify the legitimacy of the claim. Think any government employees in the Golden State were involved???

    The Wild Wild West has returned, where anything goes and the SHERIFF, if there is one, LOOKS THE OTHER WAY. A country without standards and rule of law is an anarchy, AND WE AIN’T TOO FAR AWAY FROM THAT LABEL, just a matter of Degree.

    • Paulo says:

      Tony Soprano “no shows” meet the new Federal plan for unemployed gig workers. What could go wrong?

      This could have been foreseen.

      But if authorities/politicians had taken time to ensure more security, they would have been raked over the coals by everyone, and called inefficient or uncaring.

  9. Seneca's cliff says:

    While I in no way support this kind of fraud, this is the result of a culture where ,” anything goes and nothing matters.” to quote Jim Kunstler. If the SEC and the DOJ let the bankers get away with what they did in 2008 with almost no one going to prison then the population will mirror the same behavior. They thought a trickle down economy meant the money would trickle down, but instead it meant that the habit of grifting would trickle down.

    • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

      Seneca-another sagacious observation.

      may we all find a better day.

    • Chris Herbert says:

      Steep, progressive taxes. Reform the tax code, which is rife with incentives to hide income just about anywhere. Compound interest really works well if you don’t have to pay taxes. Our tax system has so many corruptions it is criminal.

  10. Crush the Peasants! says:

    Washington state is similar. In a pure patronage promotion, governor Jay Inslee appointed a former Obama fundraiser and former ambassador to Switzerland, Suzi LeVine, to head up the Washington state Employment Security Department, ironically named as you will see. The Democrat party loyalist had zero experience in such a role. One result was hundreds of millions of dollars lost to a Nigeria-based fraud scheme that used stolen information to file false unemployment claims. Now one would think the inept adminstrator would slink away due to “family reasons.” Think again. She is headed to another plum job in the Biden administration.

    Whether the water is salt or fresh,….

  11. Cas127 says:

    Domestic terrorist…label pending.

  12. polecat says:

    20+billion – Whollymoly! That’s quite the passel of Nigerian Princes .. real or fake!

    but the one’s who REALLY are in need – get the ‘phone-tree’/call back Never! treatment.

    “sigh”… you are HERE, it’s called HELL.

    • Heinz says:

      International organized crime syndicates are laughing all the way to the bank thanks to gubvarmint incompetence. It’s a bonanza.

    • Anthony A. says:

      With the Nigerians getting all that loot, I bet the phone calls from them offering me 20 Mil will stop!

    • CreditGB says:

      There is a rumor going around that there was a catastrophic, cosmic explosion that destroyed our solar system and all in it, and that we are all now simply existing in Hell.

  13. seemlessweb says:

    The irony is delicious. Since the Gov’t facilitated the entire fraud that is the Gig economy (at least outside the context of “quant” coders, and the like) is it any surprise that fraud layers upon fraud? After all, government agencies at the federal level cannot even agree on a definition of “contingent” employees. Compare BLS definitions to what the Government Accounting Office has had to say on the matter. We simply allowed big economic players to unilaterally declare they would no longer follow the rules of employment.

  14. timbers says:

    Well, I’d wager the fraud part of the California PUA payments were still more equitable than that legal welfare program for the super rich – QE and eternal ZIRP. As incredible as that may be.

    • Don says:

      Yeah, reportedly 140 million in payments went to Cal. Department Of Corrections inmates, including those on death row where the death rate due to executions is 2.5 per decade, before Newsom’s moratorium on executions.

  15. Dano says:

    Nothing ever seems to work well in CA where government is involved. Most of their “errors” get “papered over” by the massive wealth of the tax base.

    Only now that tax base is on the move. Will the state reform itself? Doubtful.

    • el katz says:

      They won’t reform themselves because they don’t believe anything is *wrong*. After all, they’re the 5th largest economy in the world!!!! They’re brillyunt!

      • BuySome says:

        California should not be too proud of the technological terrors they create…they are nothing compared to the Power of the Farce….ie speculative fever.

    • CreditGB says:

      There is a whole other tax base called Federal Money just waiting to be tapped. Had to get rid of the President to pave the way.

      If you pay taxes, it is just a matter of which or your pockets they are picking. Soon it may be both.

  16. Bobber says:

    When they discuss the coming bailout package, will a representative from California please stand up to discuss why 10% of payments were fraudulent and why quick passage of another bailout package won’t face the same problems?

  17. MCH says:

    So, technically speaking, if CA state could trade on the stock market, if they just spent a few million dollars on Gamestop call options, they would solve the state budget issue for the year.

    Heck, if CALPERS did that, they’d suddenly be in the black for the year.

  18. Sir.PiratePapirus says:

    Voting absolutely can be effected in the same way and worse by the powers that be, you are right, history does have a few examples to show on this around the world. However the possibility of something happening doesn’t equal the probability that something happened. It is possible for you to rob a bank for example, however it’s not probable, hence my belief that you are not a bank robber but merely a confused Trump supporter.

  19. NARmageddon says:

    I wonder what percentage of the Pentagon budget is fraudulent. And what about the off-budget wars wasting both money ANDF human life at a grand scale.

    Then there is the Fed printing 3+ TRILLION dollars that end up mostly in the pockets of the wealthy.

    Keep things in perspective, folks. Sure, the EDD/PUA fraud is bad, but it is nowhere near what the big guys are getting away with.

    • polecat says:

      It all seems relative all up the ladder, from your local municipality .. on up the rungs, to the tippy-top!

      Behold, the $trange last days of a crumbling Empire! Ah, the tales that will be told in the centuries ahead..

  20. WES says:

    The government will never investigate the fraud because to do so would expose themselves!

    They are the ones who submitted and approved most of the fraudulent claims!

    • Javert Chip says:

      “…They are the ones who submitted and approved most of the fraudulent claims!…”

      And you know this because…? Your ignorant, self-selected, and assumed personal wonderfulness?

      • Petunia says:

        Actually, a woman who works or worked at CA EDD was recently arrested for filing multiple claims and identity theft. Look it up.

        • Javert Chip says:

          Ok, that’s 1; what about the accusation that the other couple hundred thousand bureaucrats are crooks.

          I have no doubt at least a single government bureaucrat is a crook (maybe even a couple more); I was reacting to the totally undocumented and idiotic blanket accusation that most fraud was perpetrated by bureaucrats.

  21. intosh says:

    Land of the fraud, home of the bubble.

  22. David G LA says:

    Anecdotal / boots on the ground report –
    Piles of checks arrived all last year in the apartment mailboxes where I live in LA with names of people who never lived in the building. Last week the 1099s (or whatever) arrived – showed something like 9000 each. Four fake names – these are only the ones I found. I filled out the fraud report on line. (As did others in my building). This made me sick.

  23. Lynn H says:

    ” Across the US, 35% of all unemployment applications are fraudulent, most of them under the PUA program, according to ID.me, cited by the EDD. ”
    “this program has been “hit hard by fraud from international and national crime syndicates,” ”

    JHC… crime syndicates don’t just grab one or 3 identities…

    Just how much of that money was invested in US real estate? It’s well known that foreign buyers do not have to prove or track income, whereas US citizens do.

  24. Stephen C. says:

    Id.me has a nice website. Services for individuals too. Wondering if they are publicly traded. Wolf’s article hints that their business is booming.

    And if it’s true that major criminal organizations are behind the fraud, that Id.me would be a ripe target for hacking or bogus imitation or. . . Ooops, I’ve been watching too many crime movies.

    • Wolf Richter says:

      Stephen C.,

      The EDD has already warned of phishing attacks by entities impersonating ID.me and asking for SS#, etc.

      ID.me is a privately owned company that raised another $8 million six months ago. IPO or SPAC waiting in the wings?

  25. So this is a federal program and the state got ripped off administering the funds? Direct sollution stop processing PUA claims. Let the corporations figure it out.

  26. c1ue says:

    The reality is that this fraud was unavoidable if speedy claims on unprecedented volumes were to be granted.
    No different than the mail-in balloting checks (or lack thereof) – you simply can’t do “normal” procedures when a pandemic and resulting federal program defining new unemployment options comes into existence.
    Should California have delayed payments for 2 months (and likely much more) while it ramped up its processing capacity? What would have been the economic and political cost of that?

    • polecat says:

      A sudden need to hire any Snake Plisskins out there who would be willing to get one outta CAL, at Any cost? Cuz within the time-frame you imply, people would’ve completely lost their $h!t .. × a few million!
      A rather unfun sounding state of affairs, were such to happen .. and that’s just ONE type of crapification we’re facing, because “Progress” – Ever Good!, Ever Upward! Absolutely NO downside, right .. for the hominids that know Not how to use it wisely.

  27. Sierra7 says:

    “Fraud” is part and parcel of the capitalist system; it is that in our economic system.
    You produce and sell to the unsophisticated depending on their level of social anxieties or perceived needs.
    Too many insist on “smaller” government but fail to understand you will “get what you pay for”!
    Our form of Neo-liberalist” economics depends on the financial rape of society.
    Why do you think so many other countries/governments have been striving for “mixed economies” so stubbornly unto violence resisted by the US??
    We have shown in the past decades that “unlawful” economic actions really have little legal consequences.
    We defund the “rules committees” (regulatory agencies) of the capitalist game and expect, what????
    We are reaping what we sow.
    May we see better days. (But, don’t count on it!)

    • 91B20 1stCav (AUS) says:

      Sierra-triple check. How many ‘capitalists’ don’t remember Smith’s admonition for ‘well-regulated’ markets, choosing instead to loot ‘the wealth of nations’ under the banner of laissez-faire (and, more recently, the relentless advance of super-efficient automation to reduce the need for costly human labor while the world population increases apace) if they can’t do it by gutting/subverting the regulatory agencies. Strange, to me, that when ‘socialist/communist’ movements subsequently arise in response, these folks express utter bewilderment. Followed by the whole tent collapsing.

      The playing fields are level, or they aren’t-widespread opportunity is available or it isn’t-noblesse oblige is rarely on the radar these days-dear reader, you tell me what you see…

      may we all find a better day.

  28. tommystrange says:

    I really think these numbers are way too high. As a person that has had to go through UI CA.,twice in the past ten years….. with many many friends, fighting for months even last March…., it’s pretty hard to game. They call past employers, and check your filings etc. If there was massive fraud on the ‘gig’ people, ok., but still. I think these numbers are blown up, by people invested in 1) people just don’t ‘deserve’ via political ideology and 2) by outside ‘identity’ trackers that want to make a buck, ….

  29. Eddy says:

    How hard can it be to put bank account numbers in Excel and check the doubles? If crime syndicates have 1000’s of different name bank accounts, then banks are not payinattention.g

  30. CreditGB says:

    Public programs, dreamed up and designed by idealists in sterile think tanks, and implemented by imbeciles in the gooberment.

    A scammer’s dream.

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