BEVERLY HILLS—The Beverly Hills Police Department said on Wednesday, September 16, that it has arrested 44 people who are in suspicion of unemployment benefit fraud and identity theft since September 3.
The suspects were accused of using stolen identities to get 129 debit cards that worth more than $2.5 million dollars from the Employment Development Department (EDD).
“They will then use the cards to lease short-term rentals, rent luxury vehicles, dine at restaurants and purchase high-end merchandise,” BHPD said in a statement.
More than $289,000 in U.S. currency and seven handguns were also seized by the police officers.
“There are millions of tax dollars being spent fraudulently as a result of this trend,” Police Chief Dominick Rivetti said.
Rivetti added, “the Beverly Hills Police Department is also working closely with our business community to keep them well informed of this trend in an effort to mitigate these crimes within our City.”
The value of debit cards from EDD can be up to $20,000, and cardholders are able to withdraw a maximum of $1,000 every day from each card.
Most of the suspects traveled to California to get the cards and often had “numerous EDD cards in their possession with other people’s identities, along with large amounts of cash.”
In order to address the issue, BHPD decided to partner with local, State and Federal law enforcement agencies including the Los Angeles Police Department, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, California Highway Patrol, the United States Secret Service, U.S Postal Inspector’s Office, U.S. Department of Labor and the Internal Revenue Service.
Anyone who has information that is related to this crime trend should call the Beverly Hills Police Department at (310) 285-2125 or submit an anonymous tip by texting BEVHILLSPD followed by the tip information to 888777.