California unemployment fraud could top $9.8 billion

California may have paid out nearly $10 billion in phony coronavirus unemployment claims — more than double the previous estimate — with some of that money going to organized crime in other countries.

California suspends 1.4 million virus unemployment claims

The state Employment Development Department on Wednesday said it had examined existing claims from people who said they lost their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic and found about 3.5 million claims were “potentially fraudulent.”

Newsom appoints new director to Employment Development Department

The department also has been criticized for granting payouts on hundreds of thousands of fraudulent claims, including some in the name of U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein. The state has acknowledged that it has paid about $400 million in the names of prison inmates.