California fraud suspects used unemployment cards to make purchases, access cash: authorities

A crackdown on an alleged fraud operation in California involving unemployment benefits has resulted in the arrests of 27 suspects, authorities said Wednesday.

Under the investigation in Torrance – about 21 miles south of downtown Los Angeles – authorities confiscated 130 debit cards issued by the state Employment Development Department (EDD) as well as $150,000 in cash and four handguns, KCBS-TV of Los Angeles reported.

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“Most debit cards were issued in third parties’ names, including identity theft victims, with a value of up to $20,000,” Torrance police Sgt. Alexander Martinez told the station. “The suspects possessed numerous cards and would often use the cards to make high-end purchases and make cash withdrawals from ATMs.”

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The arrests have occurred since Sept. 10, the report said.

Authorties asked that anyone who received a letter from the EDD despite not applying for benefits call their local police department, KCBS-TV reported.

Financial losses were suffered by the state, not individuals, the Daily Breeze of Hermosa Beach reported.

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