When Sacramento law enforcement officials arrested 35-year-old Jamie Williams-Major and six others last year they thought they’d broken up an unemployment fraud scheme involving more than $250,000 in phony payments.
Turns out, the total was 10 times higher, Sacramento County District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert’s office announced Tuesday.
After obtaining a search warrant for Williams-Major’s cellphone, authorities now believe the fraud perpetrated on the California Employment Development Department was more than $2.75 million, the largest EDD fraud scheme in Sacramento since inmates and others began targeting unemployment funds during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Williams-Major, was arrested in Las Vegas and booked into the Sacramento County Jail on Saturday, where she is being held without bail pending a court hearing Wednesday.
She faces 166 counts charging her with using the names of state prison inmates and identity theft victims to make false claims for unemployment payments, part of a worldwide multi-billion fraud scheme that authorities discovered in 2020 during the height of the pandemic.
Officials estimate California EDD fraud may have totaled more than $20 billion.