SACRAMENTO (KRON) — The California Employment Development Department (EDD) and California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services provided an update Tuesday on the effort to punish people who defrauded federal emergency unemployment benefit programs. The effort involves more than 1,400 active investigations and at least 130 criminal convictions, EDD said.

“Fraudsters attacked California and every state in the country with unprecedented criminal activity in 2020,” EDD and Fraud Special Counsel McGregor W. Scott said. “These criminals defrauded taxpayers and stole benefits from workers in need. California responded aggressively with new anti-fraud measures that blocked billions of dollars in fraud attempts.”

Scott recently identified 30 major fraud cases involving $54 million in benefits, EDD said. The benefits were primarily association with the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program.

The California Task Force on Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Fraud has helped authorities make 370 arrests, 130 convictions, and 1,400 active investigations. The fraud ranges from international crime rings to individual criminal activity, EDD said.