Woman Allegedly Used Senator's Name in Aid Scam

California claim was submitted in name of Sen. Dianne Feinstein
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 18, 2020 3:37 AM CST
Woman Accused of Using Senator's Name to Scam Benefits
In this Oct. 15, 2020 photo, Sen. Dianne Feinstein speaks during the confirmation hearing for Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett before the Senate Judiciary Committee.   (Mandel Ngan/Poo; Photo via AP, File)

A former unemployment agency employee in California is accused of using her inside knowledge to scam the system using multiple names—including that of Sen. Dianne Feinstein. Federal prosecutors say former Employment Development Department employee Andrea Gervais filed scores of claims using stolen information and received around $216,000 from a dozen of them, including a $21,000 claim in Feinstein's name, Politico reports. It's not clear why Gervais used the senator's name, but it apparently led to her scheme being exposed. Sources tell Politico that Bank of America fraud investigators became suspicious when they found the Feinstein claim and contacted federal authorities.

Investigators found that the Feinstein claim came from the same address as numerous others, including one Gervais filed in her own name. "The senator’s office is aware that an individual used the senator’s name—along with multiple others—to file fraudulent unemployment claims,” Feinstein spokesman Tom Mentzer tells the Los Angeles Times. "The matter will be handled by law enforcement and the courts." The claims were filed under California's Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program, which has also been scammed by thousands of prisoners. Nyika Gomez, a former EDD contract worker, was charged Thursday with helping inmates fraudulently obtain unemployment aid, 10 News reports. She allegedly conspired with her boyfriend, who is serving a 94 years to life sentence for murder. (More California stories.)

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