Hundreds Nonetheless Unable To Entry EDD Advantages From Financial institution Of America Due To Ongoing Fraud Suspicions – CBS Los Angeles

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Mandy Styles was in tears when she shared her experience as a victim of EDD fraud.

“I’m alone so I don’t have a family. I have no one to support me, ”she said.

Styles, who lives in West Los Angeles, had her EDD Bank of America debit card blank last month.

“As if all the money was gone,” she said. “It’s $ 6,800. It doesn’t sound like much to some people, but it was all to me. “

Although Styles said the debit card never left her possession, her account was used to spend thousands on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills.

“I called EDD on the card and they put me on hold for five hours and then hung up,” she said.

Styles filed a police report and she said Bank of America told her it was EDD’s problem that needed to be resolved.

CBS San Francisco first reported on the scammers who emptied the accounts of unemployed Californians in October. At the time, the EDD office stated that 350,000 debit card accounts had been blocked due to suspected fraud.

“It is extremely unfortunate that Californians across the country have suffered from scammers,” the EDD office said in a statement to CBS2 / KCAL9 on Thursday. “The EDD strives to do everything possible to ensure that legitimate applicants get the benefits they can get while working with our federal, state and local partners, including Bank of America, to target fraudulent Switch off claims and bring offenders to justice. “

Gabriel Rodriguez, who lives in Corona, said he is now homeless after running out of his $ 1,600 account.

“Any family member who would take me in was where I was,” he said.

According to an online statement, EDD has withdrawn the money from his account. Then Bank of America froze it so that he couldn’t access his incoming unemployment benefits.

“And then I got a letter in the mail from Bank of America telling me that my claim was being closed and that it was the final decision and they weren’t going to refund me that money,” Rodriguez said.

This week, Congressman Maxine Waters called on Bank of America for its “unacceptable” behavior because EDD debit cards could be “frozen, closed, or emptied without notice”.

“And then people can’t get any answers,” she said. “You call EDD and say,” It’s not our fault, “call Bank of America, and then Bank of America says,” Call EDD. “

According to Waters, Bank of America must refund potential fraud victims immediately.

“It is not the bank that is going to lose money,” she said. “The bank gets paid to do the job for us.”

In a statement to KCAL9 / CBS2, the Bank of American said, “The program is unfortunately full of billions of Dollars in fraud. Criminals have found ways to steal money from the state and debit cards of legitimate jobless recipients. We work closely with the state to get their funds to legitimate applicants, but criminal fraud makes it very difficult.

We helped stop billions of Dollar theft by these criminals and protected tax dollars in collaboration with the state and law enforcement agencies ofOfficer. The accounts in question were frozen at the request of the state due to the substantial amount of Fraud in the application process. We look forward to informing Chairwoman Waters of the extent of Unemployment fraud, including a very high percentage of the accounts it highlights that represent fraudulent activity. “

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