Multiple employees flee California’s unemployment agency

February 15, 2021

By JOSH FRIEDMAN

More than 1,500 staff and managers have departed California’s fraud-stricken unemployment agency since coronavirus measures took effect last March. [LA Times]

Last month, officials acknowledged the state of California has paid out at least $11 billion in unemployment funds to fraudsters, and the total could be as high as $31 billion. Fraudsters extracting funds from the state unemployment system include members of crime rings based in Nigeria, China and Russia, as well as groups and individuals collecting benefits paid in the names of prison inmates in California.

As California’s unemployment system has been plagued with fraud, the Employment Development Department (EDD) has been slow to approve legitimate claims for benefits, promoting complaints from residents across the state. California lawmakers blame attrition, in part, for slowing the processing of unemployment claims.

This month, state Auditor Elaine Howle said in a report that poor planning and decisions on staffing have contributed to widespread delays in approving claims. It takes 13 weeks for the EDD to fully train new employees to help claimants with application problems, though the agency says new tools are being provided to workers to help them resolve issues by searching keywords in a training manual.

Because of an increase in demand, the EDD has hired 4,878 workers since March 2020. However, 1,591 employees have left the agency over the same period, according to figures released by the EDD.

Among the departures, there have been “a few” vacancies in its fraud office, leaving just 17 investigators, the EDD said. The EDD’s third in command recently departed the agency following just three months on the job and after replacing someone who held the position for six months.

Likewise, top-level managers of the EDD’s parent agency, the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency, are also leaving their positions.

Stewart Knox, who was the agency’s second in command, left the Labor and Workforce Development Agency in November. Knox shared responsibilities in overseeing the EDD with other staff, including California Labor Secretary Julie Su, who is now slated to join the Biden Administration.

Despite her oversight of an agency rife with fraud, the Biden Administration has tapped Su to become United States Deputy Secretary of Labor. Su’s appointment is pending Senate confirmation.

Meanwhile, three Republican members of Congress, including California Rep. Darrell Issa have asked the chairwoman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee to hold a hearing on unemployment fraud in California.


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pigsrule

This is very understandable when you consider bloated government. You hire incompetent people in the government – California is the epitome of this. And the fact that when the government made available so much money, many less than desirable people will be hired and then leave once they got theirs.


Francesca Bolognini

I am genuinely stymied by the amount of people who would rather play a pointless partisan game than address the actual causes of a real problem. Instead they whine and complain and act as if it would all be fine if it were just done their way when the problem becomes unavoidable and begins to affect themselves.


The reaction to my comments here being a case in point. People with obviously no knowledge of the federal laws governing cyber crime are marking me down for pointing out that we need better and more cybersecurity than we had before it was defunded by the former president, not less. Because they prefer to play a partisan blame game rather than looking at the actions of the individual that helped create a massive problem for us by his choice of actions, which made no good sense at the time.


Currently, the enforcement of laws regarding cyber crime are the responsibility of the federal government. What would you do if those laws were not properly enforced and your department became overrun with fraud and you were stuck in the middle of it with no good way to make it stop? All happening at a time when there was a colossal mountain of new claims, many made by desperate people, many with families, who were unable to work? I know I would quit. In a hot minute.


So all of you so quick to mark me down, please ask yourself, if the objective was to protect our country from these sorts of crimes, why remove the budget? I would love to hear why you might think that was the right move for the greatness of America.


derasmus

There you go again, it’s all Trumps fault.


Never mind the one party rule in this State that is running the place into the ground.


IDBOUND

I believe there is no need to check for job openings at EDD , in case anybody wants a GOV job


NorthCountyLady

The amount of money lost to this fraud is unbelievable. Those from overseas will never be held accountable and those who do get caught in this country will cost the government (taxpayers) incredible additional cost through the criminal justice system and incarceration. As usual the taxpayers like you and me lose all the way around due to government ineptness.


isoslo

And the employees who were supposed to be overseeing the department will retire with 100% pension and health insurance for life and move to Hawaii for a wonderful retirement.


derasmus

Nobody retired with 100 percent pensions.


I’m not defending what appears to be incompetence or perhaps criminal malfeasance but the

average retirement (CALPERS) by a State worker (not City or County) in 2020 was approximately $3500 per month, before taxes.


Look it up


shelworth

Yet it’s just a drop in the bucket compared to the money lost to the “High speed rail” project…


copperhead

Government incompetency is always followed by increased taxes.


Francesca Bolognini

A thoughtful reading of the above information will make it abundantly clear that the bulk if the cybercrime has taken place due to international tampering. And all of the cybercrime fraud committed was of a Federal Crime nature. I fully expect most of the commenters on this site to slam the State for the fact this happened. However perhaps most of them are unaware that the executive in charge of the previous administration (hint: sat in the Oval Office), whose main apparent objective in said office was to deregulate everything possible and dispose of what he considered superfluous government agencies, not only did away with the Pandemic Response Team, but also defunded our cybersecurity sector just 2 days before the Russians hacked into EVERYTHING (coincidence?), and did not see his way clear to reinstate it, even when everything was forced online by the ensuing pandemic.


So, please bear these simple facts in mind when making ill informed comments about who is to blame for this mess. As in blaming the official who is being promoted for deciding to put the need of The People first or the Governor you don’t like, who was doing the same. It went all the way to the top of the Federal level, folks. Whether you choose to accept that or not.


In fact I am glad that an investigation is being called for. Because it is needed to make these facts clear. Without proper cybersecurity, which is an exponentially increasing need, individuals are at constantly increasing jeopardy, business, large and small cannot function, all State governments are (obviously) at risk and our National Security is forfeit.


Tedgey

Yeah. Someone used my name and ss# to collect over $20,000 from EDD. I discovered it was a woman that used to live with me years ago and she’s been using my info for a lot of stuff. I know one other woman who told me she filed claims for herself in 5 different states so I can’t speak for the bulk of the cybercrime but if I personally know two people engaged in gaming this system there must be a prominent domestic presence as well


Francesca Bolognini

Wow, yeah, well I don’t think that the average person can make a claim to know so many bad women, dude. You seem like a nice guy. Perhaps you need a stronger filter on whom you choose to associate with! But seriously, you are right, there is a lot of cybercrime and it is not being adequately addressed at any level presently.


That is the main problem with these types of crimes, even if there are 40 some odd “commenters” so far who disagree. I think they likely don’t know what the laws are governing the pushback for this type of crime. It requires a federal response, because most other efforts are not lawful. And that department was defunded. Very simple.


coyote

“Despite her oversight of an agency rife with fraud, the Biden Administration has tapped Su to become United States Deputy Secretary of Labor.-A perfect example of government intelligence.Promoting the inept to their highest level of incompetence.


HonestyPlanet

The highest levels of our Government have recently proven

their incompetence .Problem is, they were elected by apparently uneducated citizens, not promoted by bureaucrats.


coyote

“Elected” ?