BEVERLY HILLS—On Wednesday, September 16, the Beverly Hills Police Department (BHPD) announced arrest details involving identity theft and California Employment Development Department (EDD) fraud. The BHPD arrested 44 individuals in the city of Beverly Hills for such crimes. They have been making arrests for identity theft and EDD fraud since September 3.
Authorities recovered a total of 129 fraudulent EDD credit cards worth over $2.5 million. More than $289,000 in U.S. currency have also been found and seized from the suspects. Officers also located seven handguns carried on the suspects’ persons or within their vehicles, according to a BHPD press release.
Earlier this month, the BHPD discovered criminals were using stolen identities to fraudulently obtain benefits from the EDD, which were loaded onto EDD debit cards.
The police department explained the elements of the crimes further stating:
“The monetary value placed on the cards by EDD can be as high as $20,000. Cardholders are able to withdraw up to $1,000 per day, per card. Suspects have traveled primarily from out of state to obtain these fraudulent EDD cards in California. The suspects will most often have numerous EDD cards in their possession with other people’s identities, along with large amounts of cash. They will then use the cards to lease short-term rentals, rent luxury vehicles, dine at restaurants and purchase high-end merchandise.”
“We greatly appreciate the partnership of the public in fighting fraud and protecting the [Unemployment Insurance] program for California workers in need. Learn more about fraud and how to report suspicious activity by visiting Bit.ly/UIFraudPenalties,” the EDD said on social media.
“Identity theft is a growing problem affecting millions of people and their livelihoods. If you think someone has filed an Unemployment Insurance (UI) claim in your name, report it,” the organization wrote on August 29.
We greatly appreciate the partnership of the public in fighting #fraud and protecting the UI program for #California workers in need. Learn more about fraud and how to report suspicious activity by visiting https://t.co/vv1ltiSaDQ.
— EDD (@CA_EDD) September 16, 2020
The BHPD met with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies on September 16 to discuss the trend and numerous arrests and seizures. They have “agreed to work in partnership to combat this issue,” the press release stated. The teams include 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.
“There are millions of tax dollars being spent fraudulently as a result of this trend. 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,” said Police Chief Dominick Rivetti.
Since 1936, the EDD operates California’s payroll tax program and provides services to Californians, including employment and training, Unemployment Insurance (UI), State Disability Insurance (SDI), Workforce Investment, and Labor Market Information programs.
Anyone with information about this crime trend is asked to 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.