Former California employee accused of defrauding $ 200,000 pandemic benefit system

Federal officials on Thursday accused a California woman of defrauding the state’s pandemic unemployment benefit system out of hundreds of thousands of dollars, court documents show.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Andrea Gervais, a former employee of the Department of Employment Development (EDD) is accused of having acquired more than $ 200,000 in unemployment benefits in the event of a pandemic.

Gervais allegedly submitted more than 100 bogus claims for unemployment assistance in the event of a pandemic using stolen information, authorities said. Notably, a claim was successfully processed and paid on behalf of Senator Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) For more than $ 20,000.

In a statement obtained by the newspaper, a spokeswoman for Feinstein’s office said she knew her name had been used to make these fraudulent claims.

“The case will be dealt with by law enforcement and the courts,” spokesman Tom Mentzer said, according to the Times.

Gervais was fired from her EDD job in 2018 after a ministry investigation implicated her for stealing a warrant, according to a search warrant application for her home and vehicle filed in court on December 11, the newspaper reported. .

This particular claim also alleges that Gervais was able to acquire $ 216,000 from 12 fraudulent claims successfully processed by Pandemic Unemployment Assistance – a federally funded program for concert workers, according to the Times.

Sadly, those UI benefits that were intended for Californians hardest hit by the shutdown from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic have become the target of what could turn out to be the biggest fraud scheme ever. perpetrated against taxpayers in California history, ”said US Attorney McGregor. Scott in a statement obtained by The Times.

“This theft of taxpayer money intended to help our citizens in very difficult economic times will simply not be tolerated,” he added.


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