International Fraud Ring Steals Billions In EDD Money From California


June 28, 2021

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – More than $11 billion has been stolen from the state of California through Employment Development Department fraud.

Experts say a large portion of that fraud has been perpetrated by a very sophisticated and organized fraud ring based out of Nigeria. Documents acquired by CBS2 show how easily scammers are able to cheat the unemployment system using how-to manuals they find on the dark web.

“I was like, ‘Oh God, here we go, they hacked me,’” Michelle Turner told CBS2’s Kristine Lazar.

Turner wasn’t surprised when her EDD account was drained. She’d seen the fraud plaguing California all over the news. But that doesn’t mean she was prepared to lose more than $6,000.

“To think that it’s just that easy,” she said. “In one second, they can take everything from you, in one second,” Turner said.

Someone spent the money on three separate transactions in Florida. Michelle lives in San Bernardino. Fraud experts say thieves from all over the world have dipped into the California’s unemployment fund.

“A vast majority of them are in places like West Africa, primarily Nigeria,” said Crane Hassold, Agari Director of Threat Research. “That’s where the focal point of this fraud is coming from.”

Hassold founded the FBI’s Cyber Behavioral Analysis Center. He says the majority of EDD fraud is being committed by a crime ring out of Nigeria called Scattered Canary.

You can read the full article at CBS LA

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