Progressives these days like to say that the Biden administration is bringing California values to the rest of America, and unfortunately that seems to be true. Consider the appointment of California Secretary of Labor, Julie Su, as assistant secretary of labor after presiding over a massive unemployment benefit fraud.
California paid roughly $ 120 billion in unemployment benefits during the pandemic, nearly a quarter of all payouts across the country. That alone suggests a governance problem. But Ms. Su announced last month that $ 11.4 billion was going to foreign cyber criminals, prison inmates and other scammers. Other potentially fraudulent claims of $ 19 billion are being investigated.
District attorneys and the government have filed charges against some of the thieves in recent months. These include a former employment agency employee who allegedly made 100 false claims on behalf of others that totaled $ 2 million. A $ 21,000 payment to California Senator Dianne Feinstein gave a tip to local investigators, but not the state employees who paid the claim.
Fraud appears to have been widespread in state prisons, with at least one false complaint filed by each facility. Jail payments exceeded $ 800 million. At least 133 death row inmates, including well-known convicted murderer Scott Peterson, had filed claims on their behalf.
An entrepreneurial inmate collected personal information from her fellow inmates and shared her details with a probation officer who made claims on her behalf. The government lost only $ 200,000 in this fraud. Unlike the Maserati that a drug dealer bought with his false benefits, the government cannot seize the probation officer’s loot. She spent it on plastic surgery.