California duped into sending $100M COVID advantages to prisoners, dying row inmates

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. — In what a group of California District Attorneys is asking “the most giant fraud on taxpayer funds in California historical past,” a possible $1 billion in taxpayer-funded COVID unemployment advantages went to convicted murderers, rapists, and death row inmates in the California prison device.

The l. a. times reported that the “pandemic aid device administered by the state Employment building department” issued tests to a whole lot of incarcerated people, together with excessive-profile convicted assassin Scott Peterson.

“9 district attorneys across California and a federal prosecutor on Tuesday made these allegations and known as for Gov. Gavin Newsom to intervene to stop such unemployment swindling in California jails and prisons,” the news organization stated, noting that the funds went to prisoners, who’re ineligible for unemployment reduction — including COVID unemployment reduction — through “fraud that involves identity theft of prisoners as well as alleged scams via particular person inmates and organized gangs to game the state device.”

to this point, investigators have formally found greater than $one hundred million in misdirected cash. although, that seems to be the tip of the iceberg because the attorneys who signed Tuesday’s letter say they consider that as soon as a full investigation has concluded, the losses might complete round $1 billion, each day Wire said.

“to this point, investigations have uncovered more than $four hundred,000 in state benefits paid to loss of life row inmates, and greater than $a hundred and forty million to other incarcerated americans in California’s 38 prisons, in accordance with Sacramento County Dist. Atty. Anne Marie Schubert, who helped prepare and lead a role force that uncovered the alleged dupery,” the LA times notes. “In total, funds to those ineligible due to incarceration in prisons and jails might complete essentially $1 billion, the prosecutors declare.”

early release
(Tony Webster)

issues appear to be mainly alarming in Kern County the place prosecutors expect greater than $16 million in misdirected money. therefore, they’re calling on Newsom to take instant motion.

“Kern County Dist. Atty. Cynthia Zimmer, whose district has 5 prisons, the most of any county in California, referred to as the scope of the scams stunning. Zimmer stated her office had discovered about $16 million in allegedly fraudulent claims in her county by myself,” the los angeles instances mentioned.

It’s now not clear how plenty of the unemployment cash changed into stolen, the attorneys say, as a result of there are a few schemes worried, and there are particular person families, unaffiliated with any better effort, who may also have utilized for COVID relief funds on behalf of incarcerated household — a kind of id theft.

California Governor Gavin Newsom tried to quash issues in regards to the fraud in an announcement Tuesday, pledging to appoint a statewide project drive to investigate, but some state officials mentioned that there are so many Californians in need of unemployment suggestions because of persevered lockdowns, that the issue can be too huge to manipulate — and Newsom’s efforts may well be too late, in response to studies.

Gov. Gavin Newsom

“To expedite and beef up these efforts I have directed the office of Emergency functions to rise up a role drive to coordinate state efforts and guide investigations via local District Attorneys,” Newsom said. “we can proceed to absolutely accomplice with legislation enforcement and direct as many supplies as essential to examine and resolve this problem swiftly. whereas we now have made improvements, we deserve to do greater. every little thing the state does will be executed in partnership with the local District Attorneys and i thank them for his or her commitment to resolving this challenge as quickly as feasible.”

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