A former employee for California’s Employment Development Department has been charged with funneling about $215,000 in disability payments to herself from people she was tasked with helping, Los Angeles officials announced Friday.
“People were relying on these payments and they were unwittingly taken advantage of by someone who was supposed to help them,” L.A. County District Attorney George Gascón said in a news release.
Prosecutors said Karina Maria Valdez manipulated the accounts of people seeking disability benefits beginning in 2014 while she worked as an EDD disability insurance program representative. She allegedly routed debit cards with fraudulent information to herself and withdrew money over a five-year period.
Valdez is facing one felony count each of embezzlement, misappropriation of public funds, perjury, identity theft and grand theft, according to the DA’s office.
She is scheduled to be arraigned Friday.