California: Criminal rings loot billions in jobless funds

·1 min read

LOS ANGELES — California officials say hackers, identity thieves and overseas criminal rings stole an estimated $11.4 billion in unemployment benefits last year.

But the extent of the fraud might grow far larger: billions more in jobless payments are under investigation.

California Labor Secretary Julie Su told reporters in a conference call Monday that of the $114 billion the state has paid in unemployment claims during that time, about 10% has been confirmed as fraudulent.

Nearly $20 billion more is considered suspicious, and a large part could be confirmed as fraud.

Su says the state did not have sufficient security measures in place and criminals took advantage of the gaps.

Michael R. Blood, The Associated Press