A former state employee has been charged with funneling more than $200,000 in disability payments to herself while she worked for California’s Employment Development Department, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced Friday.
Karina Maria Valdez, 38, is set to be arraigned Friday in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom on one felony count each of embezzlement, misappropriation of public funds, perjury, identity theft and grand theft.
Beginning in 2014, Valdez allegedly manipulated the accounts of people seeking disability benefits while she worked as a disability insurance program representative, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
She allegedly routed debit cards with fraudulent information to herself and withdrew roughly $215,000 over a five-year period, according to the District Attorney’s Office.
“People were relying on these payments and they were unwittingly taken advantage of by someone who was supposed to help them,” District Attorney George Gascón said in a statement. “I will continue to strive for clean government and rid corruption from public offices.”
The charges, filed last month, stem from an investigation by the Employment Development Department.
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