BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. - The Beverly Hills police are cracking down on fraud and identity theft.
The police department says since September 3rd, officers have arrested 44 individuals within the City of Beverly Hills responsible for Employment Development Department (EDD) fraud and identity theft.
A total of 129 fraudulent EDD credit cards valuing over $2.5 million have been recovered.
Over $289,000 in U.S. currency has also been seized. In addition to cash, officers located seven handguns carried on the suspects or found within their vehicles.
“Earlier this month, the Beverly Hills Police Department learned criminals were fraudulently obtaining EDD benefits loaded onto EDD debit cards using stolen identities. The monetary value placed on the cards by EDD can be as high as $20,000. Cardholders are able to withdraw up to $1,000 per day, per card,” the police department wrote in a statement online.
They say suspects have traveled from out of state to obtain the fraudulent EDD.
Suspects often have numerous EDD cards with other people’s identities on it, along with large amounts of cash. Police say the cards were being used to lease short-term rentals, rent luxury vehicles, dine at restaurants and purchase high-end merchandise.
“There are millions of tax dollars being spent fraudulently as a result of this trend,” Police Chief Dominick Rivetti said.
The Beverly Hills Police Department is working with numerous law enforcement agencies on this growing trend including the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, California Highway Patrol, United States Secret Service, U.S Postal Inspector’s Office, U.S. Department of Labor and the Internal Revenue Service.
Anyone with information about this crime trend is encouraged to call the Beverly Hills Police Department at (310) 285-2125 or submit an anonymous tip by texting BEVHILLSPD followed by the tip information to 888777.