California has paid out $11 billion in fraudulent unemployment claims -- could rise to $30 billion
Gavin Newsom (Screen Capture)

The state of California on Monday revealed the extent of fraudulent unemployment claims during the coronavirus pandemic.

"California has paid out a staggering $11 billion worth of fraudulent unemployment claims since the COVID-19 pandemic began last spring, California Labor Secretary Julie Su said Monday," The Sacramento Bee reports. "The fraudulent payments represent 10% of all payments for pandemic unemployment benefits, Su said. The percentage is likely to go higher. Another 17% of the dollars that have been paid out — more than $19 billion — are considered suspicious and 'a large number of that could be confirmed fraud as well,' she said."

"Most of the fraudulent claims have been made through the federally-funded Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program," the newspaper reported. "PUA was designed to provide unemployment benefits to people who do not qualify for traditional unemployment insurance, such as independent contractors and small business owners. Recipients can currently get up to $750 a week in benefits."

Stu estimated that the Employment Development Department and local prosecutors have prevented $60 billion in fraudulent claims.