Since Sept. 3, police have arrested 44 people in Beverly Hills responsible for identity theft and EDD fraud totaling over $2.5 million, said the Beverly Hills Police Department.
Police add that a total of 129 fraudulent California unemployment benefits debit cards have been recovered, and over $289,000 in U.S. currency have been located on the suspects and seized. They've also found seven handguns either carried by the suspects or within their cars.
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The California Employment Development Department can transfer as much as $20,000 on those EDD debit cards, police said, and cardholders are able to withdraw up to $1,000 per day, per card. They said the suspects traveled primarily from out of state to obtain the EDD cards using stolen identities.
"They will then use the cards to lease short-term rentals, rent luxury vehicles, dine at restaurants and purchase high-end merchandise," said the Beverly Hills Police Department.
Several local, state and federal law enforcement agencies are teaming up to tackle the growing trend of EDD fraud and identity theft including LAPD, CHP, LA County Sheriff's Department, U.S. Secret Service, U.S. Postal Inspector's Office, the Department of Labor, and the IRS.
Anyone with information about this crime trend is asked to call the Beverly Hills Police Department at 310-285-2125.