After California lost more than $810 million taxpayer dollars last year to unemployment insurance (UI) fraud, legislation to implement standard fraud-prevention practices at California’s Employment Development Department (EED) was signed into law. AB 110, authored by Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris, requires EDD to cross-check unemployment claims against incarceration records in order to prevent paying fraudulent benefits.
“EDD’s inability to detect and prevent fraud must never be repeated. We have a duty to our taxpayers to ensure that their dollars are going into the right hands,” said Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach). “California will now implement basic business practices to prevent fraudsters from taking advantage of a glaring loophole in the current system.”
Although other states cross-check lists of unemployment benefit claimants against incarceration data, California law restricted sharing inmate information with other state agencies. AB 110 now enables EDD to easily cross-check claimants’ information, including social security numbers, against the relevant information in the database of inmate information maintained by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and by the counties.
“The rampant statewide fraudulent unemployment claims scheme involving state prisoner applicants is a breakdown of catastrophic proportions that has failed the American taxpayer,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer. “AB 110 is absolutely essential in minimizing the loss of taxpayer dollars to fraud. Had a mechanism been in place to block this money from distribution to ineligible prison inmates, untold millions of dollars would have been safeguarded. The state of California owes a debt of gratitude to Assemblymember Petrie-Norris for her leadership on this issue and for remaining unwavering to protecting precious taxpayer dollars.”
AB 110 is supported by CalChamber, California State Sheriffs’ Association, Orange County Business Council, Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer, Orange County Sheriff’s Department, Peace Officers Research Association of California and Southwest California Legislative Council.