Multiple county prosecutors in California are calling on Gov. Gavin Newsom to help them investigate allegations of unemployment fraud by inmates in state prisons and county jails, The Mercury News reports.
The nine district attorneys asked Newsom earlier this month to help find cases of fraud by allowing for faster cross-matching of names, birth dates, Social Security numbers, and other information of inmates with unemployment claims that have been filed with the state’s Employment Development Department.
“It is our understanding from several state agencies that this information has not been proactively shared with EDD (an agency with law enforcement investigatory powers) under the premise that there is some statutory prohibition to this data sharing,” the district attorneys wrote in a letter to Newsom.
The prosecutors include Sacramento District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert, Riverside District Attorney Michael Hestrin, and San Diego District Attorney Summer Stephan, among others. Schubert is the chair of the statewide EDD Fraud Task Force.
They note that state officials discovered evidence of a fraud scheme in the state prison system last August, but the statewide task force wasn’t able to review the data until November, at which point it “found the staggering scope of the fraud” that had remained ongoing.
“We believe, and the emerging data supports, that this is an urgent matter with an unprecedented scale of fraud that is bilking the State of California and its people of desperately needed financial resources,” the letter adds.