Archive for the ‘Finance’ Category

Antioch School Board approves contracts with 3% raise for teachers, district management

Thursday, April 29th, 2021

Mirrors raise for classified staff approved previously, approves call for bids on modernization projects at four older schools

By Allen Payton

During their meeting on Wednesday, April 28, 2021, the Antioch School Board voted 5-0 to approve a 3% pay raise for both teachers and district management staff. That matched the raise the board gave to the classified staff during their special meeting on April 7. The board also approved a call for bids for more school improvements using the remaining funds from Measure C’s bonds.

In addition, the district received the Annual Performance Review for Rocketship Delta Prep charter school. That showed an average growth for all students of 1.24 years in math and 1.03 years in English language arts.  Rocketship Delta Prep – Annual Performance Review – 2020-21

According to the district staff reports, the Board of Education and the District Administration have been engaged in contract negotiations with the California School Employees Association (CSEA), for 2020-2021. The parties reached a tentative agreement on all outstanding matters on or about March 12, 2021. Since then, CSEA ratified the tentative agreement. The new, agreed-upon language changes and provisions were presented to the board for final approval. CSEA Agreement

The Antioch Management Association (AMA) is comprised of certificated and classified management, supervisory, and confidential employees in the District. Because it is not an exclusive bargaining representative like the Antioch Education Association and the California School Employees Association, all matters regarding compensation, work year and hours, and other terms and conditions of employment for these employees are determined exclusively by the Superintendent and the Board of Education.  AMA Agreement

The District recently completed negotiations with the Antioch Education Association for the 2020-2021 school year. The terms which were agreed upon between the parties included increases in compensation and increases in the District’s monthly contribution to employee health and welfare benefits. Staff requests that the Board of Education approve equitable increases for employees in the AMA on the Certificated and Classified Management Salary Schedule with the same effective date.

That board voted that:

1) All salary schedules and associated stipends listed on those schedules be increased by 3.00% effective July 1, 2020.

2) The District’s annual contribution to health and welfare benefits be increased to the following levels effective January 1, 2021.  Employee Only: $12,096   Employee Plus 1: $17,520   Family:  $21,300

School Projects Call for Bids

The board voted 4-0, with Trustee Gary Hack unavailable during the vote, to call for bids for modernization projects at four school sites as per the Measure C – Series E Board of Education Approved Project List.

At the Board of Education Meeting held on June 24, 2020, staff submitted a list of projects to be undertaken following the sale of the Measure C bond issuance of $10,750,000 on May 12, 2020. Staff reviewed the Antioch Unified School Facilities Improvement District #1 Project List to determine project priorities and recommended the list in prioritized order. The Board approved Project List is as follows with the total estimated cost:

Antioch Middle School – HVAC to the 100, 200, and 400 wings – $1,087.210

Park Middle School – HVAC – $621,533

Muir Elementary School –Roofing – $2,803,822

Kimball Elementary School – Roofing – $2,750,492

The project list approved at the meeting on June 24, 2020, also included the Modernization of Wings 300, 500, and 900 at Antioch High School. The District bid for that project separately which was approved at the Board of Education Meeting held on August 26, 2020. That project is now underway.

Each project listed above will be bid separately and staff will request the Board to approve and award the lowest responsive and most responsible bidder for each project.

“The bids may come in higher, especially for the roofing costs, due to the increase in lumber costs,” said consultant Chris Learned.

In response to a question from Trustee Mary Rocha, he said, “You have to take the lowest, responsible bidder. There is a little leeway, but it’s hard to reject a bid.”

 

 

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Contra Costa Supervisors presented $4.06 billion 2021-2022 budget

Thursday, April 22nd, 2021

Source: CCC Administrator

Speakers want Sheriff’s requested $7.5 million for inmate mental health services to go to Walnut Creek’s Miles Hall Foundation

By Daniel Borsuk

The Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors will probably act on a proposed $4.06 billion 2021-2022 budget at a May 4 meeting and will listen to another barrage of critics of Sheriff-Coroner David O. Livingston’s proposal that a portion of $54 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) funds be diverted to an outside nonprofit mental health organization.

Contra Costa County’s proposed 2021-2022 budget surpasses the current fiscal year budget of $3.98 billion and includes $7.5 million designated for the staffing of additional sheriff deputies assigned to protect inmates requiring mental health services.

A contingent of speakers opposing Sheriff-Coroner Livingston’s request for the additional funds for inmate mental health services, argued instead for all or a portion of the $7.5 million be awarded to the Walnut Creek-based Miles Hall Foundation.  The newly established Miles Hall Foundation is named after the Las Lomas High School graduate who was slain by a Walnut Creek police officer in June 2019 while Hall was undergoing a mental health episode.

Lois Thomas of Lafayette was one of the speakers supporting the detouring some or all the $54.2 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) funding designated to the Sheriff-Coroner to the non-profit Miles Hall Foundation. “Keep deputies out of mental health, “Thomas demanded.

Sheriff Livingston said the additional funding to hire 10 new deputy sheriffs arises at a time the county has a new contract with the Prison Law Office to provide improved acute mental health care while behind bars.

Even though the jails have an average daily population of 785 inmates, Sheriff Livingston said, “We have had a 43 percent decrease of inmates in our jail (about 14,000 inmates) due to COVID-19.”

County Administrator Nino prepared a chart that showed the Coroner-Sheriff’s Office, and the Contra Costa County Health Services are in line to receive over half of the county-produced general-purpose funds with health services picking up 30.5 percent of the general-purpose revenue at $162.5 million while the Coroner-Sheriff collects 19.8 percent, or $104.7 million.

Source: CCC Administrator

Supervisors were told funds from the November voter approved Measure X sales tax increase will not begin to arrive until next fall. The county has yet to hire tax auditors.  “Measure X funding is not anticipated to be received until October 2021 for the first quarter of collections starting April 2021,” Nino wrote in her budget statement.  “The amount of Measure X included in the recommended budget totals $600,000 for the new Department of Racial Equity and Social Justice and $65,000 for the sales tax auditors.”

Expenses the county will need to round up funding for the upcoming 2021-2022 fiscal year is $600,000 for the operation of the Office of Racial Equity and Social Justice, $300,000 for redistricting and $15.3 million for a new finance computer system.

With ongoing efforts to vaccinate every age-eligible county resident with the COVID-19 vaccine, Contra Costa County Health Department Director Anna Roth said one of the biggest hurdles next fiscal year will be the county’s negotiations with the California Nurses Association.  The CNA represents 812 county nurses, and the contract is set to expire on Sept. 30.

The health services are the county’s most expensive department to operate with general purpose funds at $162.5 million or 30.5 percent of overall general fund disbursements.

As for the five elected board of supervisors, the proposed budget designates $7.7 million or 1.4 percent of overall general-purpose funds to cover the salaries and expenses of themselves and support staff.

Board vice chair Federal Glover of Pittsburg said during the budget presentations one item that was missing was further analysis on the potential reuse of the Marsh Creek Detention Facility and “more discussion on the future of the Orin Allen Rehabilitation Center near Discovery Bay and juvenile hall in Martinez.”

Glover’s supervisorial colleagues and County Administrator Nino acknowledged the supervisor’s request that there will be discussion about the fate of the detention facility and juvenile hall.

 

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Keller Canyon Mitigation Fund 2021-22 grant cycle opens

Saturday, April 17th, 2021

Amounts from $500 to $10,000 available in Bay Point, Pittsburg and Antioch

The Office of Supervisor Federal Glover is pleased to announce that the 2021–22 grant cycle for the Keller Canyon Mitigation Fund is now open. Grant applications ranging from $500 to $10,000 will be accepted via the online application portal beginning April 29, 2021 at 8:00 AM. Applications for services must fall within one of the broad categories previously approved by the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors:

  • Code Enforcement
  • Community Beautification
  • Community Services
  • Public Safety (Including Public Health)
  • Youth Services

Additionally, services funded by the Keller Canyon Mitigation Fund must be offered in the mitigation area, which includes the unincorporated community of Bay Point, the City of Pittsburg, and the City of Antioch. The target area is divided into a primary area (Bay Point and Pittsburg from its western border to Harbor Street) and a secondary area (Pittsburg from Harbor Street east to the entire City of Antioch). Services may also be provided to organizations outside the mitigation area only when the beneficiaries reside within the mitigation area.

In order to apply for Keller Canyon Mitigation grant funds, organizations must be designated either a 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(6) corporation under the Internal Revenue Code.

MANDATORY BIDDER’S CONFERENCE—THURSDAY, APRIL 29, 2021

To be eligible to apply for Keller Canyon Mitigation funds, nonprofit organizations must have at least one representative attend and remain for its duration a mandatory virtual bidder’s conference on Thursday, April 29 at 9:00 AM. The bidder’s conference is expected to last for approximately 90–120 minutes and will include detailed presentations on the grant process as well as allow for questions and answers. So we may keep a record of attendees, registration for the bidder’s conference is required.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR THE MANDATORY BIDDER’S CONFERENCE

Should you have any questions, please call the District 5 office at 925-608-4200 or send an email to district5@bos.cccounty.us.

 

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Over $75 million in COVID-19 rent relief for Contra Costa County

Tuesday, March 16th, 2021

Tenants and Landlords – application period opened yesterday

(Martinez, CA) – Starting March 15, 2021, Contra Costa County tenants and landlords impacted by COVID-19 can apply for assistance from the COVID-19 Rent Relief program. Over $75 million is Contra Costa County’s allocation of federal Emergency Rental Assistance Program funds from the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, which allocated $2.6 billion to Californians in need of rental relief.

“This funding for COVID-19 relief cannot come any sooner to help provide the hardest hit individuals and families in Contra Costa with financial assistance with rent and utilities payments and help them gain back financial and housing stability,” said Board Chair, Supervisor Diane Burgis. “My colleagues on the Board and I remain committed to helping residents get back on their feet, especially now that we have safe, effective vaccines that will help end this pandemic.”

The program assists income-qualified renters impacted by COVID-19 who need help to pay for rent or utilities. Eligible household income may not exceed 80% of the local median income. Eligible renters whose landlords do not participate in the program can still receive 25% of unpaid rent accrued between April 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021. Eligible renters can also receive future rent assistance equal to 25% of their monthly rent. The program also provides up to 80% rent reimbursement to landlords for unpaid rent accrued between April 1, 2020, and March 31, 2021.

“I am appreciative of the partnership with local governments like Contra Costa for their vote of confidence in our rent relief program,” said Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency Secretary Lourdes Castro Ramirez. “We have been closely working together to ensure we provide rent relief and support to those communities hardest hit by the pandemic.”

Check eligibility and apply online for COVID-19 Rent Relief and in Spanish Ayuda con la Renta. Tenants and landlords can contact the CA COVID-19 Rent Relief Call Center at 1-833-430-2122 for assistance to apply. To learn more and find state resources, visit Housingiskey.com.

For information on Contra Costa County’s Ordinance on Eviction Protection and Rent Freeze, see FAQs on the County website. For additional resources, call 211 or 800-833-2900, text HOPE to 20121, or visit www.contracosta.ca.gov.

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Contra Costa Community College District bond sale, refinance saves property tax payers $1.7 million

Thursday, March 4th, 2021

By Timothy Leong, Public Information Officer, 4CD

On November 10, 2020, the Contra Costa Community College District (District) sold $110 million of new Measure E bonds and refinanced $35 million of previously sold general obligation bonds originally issued in 2014 following voter approval of 57.58%.  Due in part to favorable Moody’s and S&P ratings, the refinancing collectively saves Contra Costa County property owners over $1.7 million through 2040, and savings will be passed on in the form of lower property taxes. Voters will see this change reflected in their 2020-21 property tax bills, with annual total savings for our taxpayers of over $150,000.

The new Brentwood Center and new Kinesiology and Student Union Complex at the LMC-Pittsburg campus were the first major District projects completed using Measure E funds. The $110 million sale of new Measure E bonds will help continue the transformation of additional facilities at District sites. These projects include the new Science Center and renovation of the PE/Kinesiology Complex at Contra Costa College, the Arts Complex and PE/Kinesiology Complex at Diablo Valley College (DVC)-Pleasant Hill Campus, and the new Library and Learning Center at the DVC-San Ramon Campus.

“This is the fourth time the District has refinanced previously sold bonds to reduce debt service for our taxpayers,” said Chancellor Bryan Reece. “We will continue to focus on our fiduciary responsibility of managing public funds and want to thank Contra Costa County voters for allowing us to make these critical investments in the community.”

The sales and refinancing transactions were handled by Morgan Stanley.  KNN Public Finance was the District’s financial advisor, and Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe performed as bond counsel.

The Contra Costa Community College District (District) is one of the largest multi-college community college districts in California. The District serves a population of 1,019,640 people, and its boundaries encompass all but 48 of the 734-square-mile land area of Contra Costa County. The District is home to Contra Costa College in San Pablo, Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, Los Medanos College in Pittsburg, as well as educational centers in Brentwood and San Ramon.  The District headquarters is located in downtown Martinez.

 

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Contra Costa County issues $97.42 million in tax-exempt bonds to fund new county facilities

Friday, February 26th, 2021

For redevelopment of former administration building site, build fire stations and fund new airport terminal; savings of $7.3 million also generated from refunding existing bonds

By Susan Shiu, Director, Office of Communications and Media, Contra Costa County

Thursday morning, Feb. 25, 2021, Contra Costa County sold $97,420,000 of lease revenue bonds with Barclay’s Capital Inc. serving as underwriter. Proceeds from the bond sale will fund infrastructure projects including redevelopment of the former County Administration Center complex in Martinez, a portion of a new Aircraft Terminal at the Buchanan Field Airport in Concord and construction of two fire stations in Pacheco and Bay Point.

In addition, the County refunded $48.4 million of outstanding bonds resulting in significant savings to the County.

The bonds funding the new construction projects have a true interest cost of 2.27% with a term of 20 years. The refunding bonds have a true interest cost of 1.80% and shortens the term of the previous bonds by two years, from 19 years to 17 years. The refunding bonds resulted in a net present value savings to the County of $7.3 million.

“The results from today’s bond sale are proof of the County’s reputation of strong financial management within the municipal market,” said Chair of the Board of Supervisors Diane Burgis. “This allows the County to secure financing for important public infrastructure projects at very attractive rates to better serve our residents.”

According to the California State Treasurer, lease revenue bonds (LRBs) are a type of revenue bond. Lease revenue bonds usually finance the construction of facilities, including government office buildings, correction facilities, courthouses, and fire facilities. However, unlike revenue bonds that use money generated by the project (a bridge toll) to repay investors, lease revenue bonds have a lessee (government agency) that pays rent to use the facility. The rent payments are used to pay back investors who purchased the bonds used to finance the construction of the facility. LRBs are secured by lease payments made by the party leasing the facility (school or office building) that was funded by the bond issue.

“Historically low interest rates and the County’s strong credit profile have allowed us to advance critical projects and refund existing debt for cost savings,” stated County Administrator Monica Nino.

Contra Costa County has been rated “AAA” by Standard and Poor’s since 2012 and, most recently, was upgraded by Moody’s Investor Service to “Aa1” from “Aa2” on February 16, 2021. Both credit rating agencies have attributed their high ratings for Contra Costa County to strong financial management, with policies and practices well-embedded in County operations. They have also pointed to a strong local economy with a large, diverse tax base.

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Moody’s upgrades Contra Costa County’s Issue Rating to Aa1 reducing cost for floating bonds

Wednesday, February 17th, 2021

Also upgrades LRBs’ to Aa2 and POBs to Aa3; assigned Aa2 to 2021 LRBs; outlook is stable

By Susan Shiu, Contra Costa County Office of Communications & Media

On Tuesday, February 16, 2021, Moody’s Investors Service upgraded the Issuer Rating, an indicator of general creditworthiness, of Contra Costa County from “Aa2” to “Aa1”. In its press release, Moody’s cites the County’s “…strong and sustained financial position supported by robust reserves and liquidity.” On Moody’s credit scale, “Aa1” is just one notch below the coveted “Aaa” credit rating.

The rating upgrade is especially complementary of the County’s efforts since Moody’s has placed the U.S. Local Government sector, as a whole, on negative outlook due to the coronavirus pandemic. The upgrade comes in advance of the County’s planned issuance of lease revenue bonds for the construction of an aviation terminal, fire stations, and a new office complex. In addition, the County will be refunding existing bonds for an estimated net present value savings of $7.8 million, or 16.2%.

Board of Supervisors Chair Diane Burgis (District 3) commented that “The upgrade from Moody’s is a testament to the strong financial management practices that have become a tradition in Contra Costa County.”

County Administrator Monica Nino stated that “Contra Costa County has been a leader throughout the State in prudent financial and budget management, and we plan to continue that into the future.”

Complete Press Release

New York, February 16, 2021 — Moody’s Investors Service has upgraded Contra Costa County’s (CA) issuer rating to Aa1 from Aa2, lease revenue bond rating to Aa2 from Aa3 and pension obligation bond rating to Aa3 from A1. The amount of debt affected is $232.4 million and $85.7 million, respectively. We also assigned a Aa2 rating to the Contra Costa County Public Financing Authority’s $62.4 million Lease Revenue Bonds (Capital Projects and Refunding) 2021 Series A (Capital Projects) and $37.2 million 2021 Series B (Refunding). The outlook is stable.

RATINGS RATIONALE

The upgrade to Aa1 incorporates the county’s strong and sustained financial position supported by robust reserves and liquidity. The Aa1 rating incorporates the county’s large and diverse tax base poised for ongoing solid growth, residents’ favorable income levels and moderate long-term liabilities. The rating also factors the recent increased general fund subsidy for the county’s hospital enterprise because of higher operating costs unrelated to the pandemic. The subsidy will remain manageable when compared to the county’s operating revenue. In addition, the county will benefit from a recently approved sales tax measure that expires in March 2041. These funds can be used to support general operations, providing additional financial flexibility. The county’s strong governance, as demonstrated by management’s prudent fiscal practices and adopted policies, is also factored into the rating.

The Aa2 ratings on the county’s lease revenue bonds are one notch lower than the county’s Aa1 issuer rating, reflecting both the absence of California GO (General Obligation) bond security features, which provide uplift to the GO rating, and the weaker legal structure of standard abatement leases, despite the “more essential” nature of the pledged asset, which is the Contra Costa Regional Medical Center.

The legal provisions for the Lease Revenue Bonds, 2021 Series A and 2021 Series B include that the city will provide rental interruption insurance for 24 months, title insurance, and will not require a debt service reserve fund, which is a negative credit factor. This negative credit factor is mitigated by the county having earthquake insurance that covers the pledged asset, a protective feature that is rare for California abatement leases. The county is not legally obligated to have earthquake insurance, however management expects to renew its policy when it expires next month.

The Aa3 rating on the county’s pension obligations bonds is two notches lower than the county’s issuer rating, reflecting the lack of strong legal features of California GO Bonds. The notching also reflects the relatively poor performance of POBs in Chapter 9 bankruptcies compared to other types of municipal obligations. The POBs are unsecured debt paid by general operating revenues.

RATING OUTLOOK

The stable outlook reflects our expectation that the county will maintain a strong financial position supported by management’s prudent fiscal practices. In addition, we expect that the county will continue to navigate through the economic, operational and financial challenges caused by the coronavirus without materially impacting its long-term credit quality.

FACTORS THAT COULD LEAD TO AN UPGRADE OF THE RATINGS

– Improved income and wealth levels

– Material reduction in long-term liabilities and fixed costs

FACTORS THAT COULD LEAD TO A DOWNGRADE OF THE RATINGS

– Sizeable reduction in reserves and liquidity

– Material increase in long-term liabilities and fixed costs

LEGAL SECURITY

The issuer rating is equivalent to what would be the county’s general obligation bond rating. In California, GO bonds are secured by the levy of ad valorem taxes, unlimited as to rate or amount, upon all taxable property within the county.

The lease revenue bonds are secured by lease payments made by the county for use and occupancy of various leased assets which we view “more essential”. Lease rental payments are payable from any source of legally available funds of the county.

The county’s obligation to make all POB payments of interest and principal are imposed by law and are absolute and unconditional. The POBs are payable from any source of legally available funds of the county, including the county’s general fund.

USE OF PROCEEDS 2021

Series A bonds will finance improvements at the county’s Buchanan Field Airport, the construction of two fire stations and a new county office building. 2021 Series B will refund outstanding lease revenue bonds for savings and there is no extension in maturity.

PROFILE

Contra Costa County is located in the eastern portion of the San Francisco Bay Area, just east of Berkeley and Oakland in northern California. The county seat of Martinez is approximately 24 miles northeast of downtown San Francisco. The county has a population of 1.1 million and the largest industry sectors that drive the local economy are health services, retail trade, and professional/scientific/technical services.

METHODOLOGY

The principal methodology used in the issuer rating was US Local Government General Obligation Debt published in January 2021 and available at https://www.moodys.com/researchdocumentcontentpage.aspx? docid=PBM_1260094. The principal methodology used in the lease and pension obligation bond ratings was Lease, Appropriation, Moral Obligation and Comparable Debt of US State and Local Governments published in January 2021 and available at https://www.moodys.com/researchdocumentcontentpage.aspx? docid=PBM_1260202. Alternatively, please see the Rating Methodologies page on www.moodys.com for a copy of these methodologies.

REGULATORY DISCLOSURES

For further specification of Moody’s key rating assumptions and sensitivity analysis, see the sections Methodology Assumptions and Sensitivity to Assumptions in the disclosure form. Moody’s Rating Symbols and Definitions can be found at: https://www.moodys.com/researchdocumentcontentpage.aspx? docid=PBC_79004.

For ratings issued on a program, series, category/class of debt or security this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to each rating of a subsequently issued bond or note of the same series, category/class of debt, security or pursuant to a program for which the ratings are derived exclusively from existing ratings in accordance with Moody’s rating practices. For ratings issued on a support provider, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the credit rating action on the support provider and in relation to each particular credit rating action for securities that derive their credit ratings from the support provider’s credit rating. For provisional ratings, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the provisional rating assigned, and in relation to a definitive rating that may be assigned subsequent to the final issuance of the debt, in each case where the transaction structure and terms have not changed prior to the assignment of the definitive rating in a manner that would have affected the rating. For further information please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page for the respective issuer on www.moodys.com.

Regulatory disclosures contained in this press release apply to the credit rating and, if applicable, the related rating outlook or rating review.

Moody’s general principles for assessing environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks in our credit analysis can be found at https://www.moodys.com/researchdocumentcontentpage.aspx?docid=PBC_1243406.

Please see www.moodys.com for any updates on changes to the lead rating analyst and to the Moody’s legal entity that has issued the rating.

Please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com for additional regulatory disclosures for each credit rating.

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Did you receive a tax form for unemployment benefits you never applied for? Fraud attorney outlines the steps to take

Thursday, February 11th, 2021

By Newsroom Newswire

Now that it’s tax season, and tax forms are arriving in the mail, many people are beginning to find a nasty surprise in their mailbox: an IRS form 1099-G reporting unemployment benefit income that they did not actually apply for or receive.

If you receive a form 1099-G but did not file for unemployment, someone may have stolen your identity to commit unemployment fraud.

Attorney David Fleck, who has extensive experience in fraud cases, said this is one of the easiest frauds to perpetrate, which is why it has suddenly become common during the pandemic. As unemployment numbers swelled, unemployment departments across the country became overwhelmed with applications and made thorough background checks of applicants fall by the wayside.

“I’ve seen so many different scams in my career, and frankly there is nothing new under the sun,” he said. “Because these are unusual times, con artists are just using this moment as a way to take advantage of the system.”

Learning that your identity has been used to perpetrate a fraud can be a stressful experience, Fleck said, but there are steps you can protect yourself and mitigate the damage:

  1. Report the fraud to the California employment development department, https://www.edd.ca.gov/. California EDD has a form on their website to use for reporting identity theft and unemployment fraud. You can also call the EDD Fraud Hotline at 1-800-229-6297.
  2. File your taxes as normal, and do NOT report the fraudulent income. If you’ve reported the fraud to EDD, that’s all you need to do. You don’t need to also report it to the IRS.
  3. If you suspect you may be a victim of a broader identify theft, you may want to check the website of The Identity Theft Resource Center, a nonprofit in San Diego. Visit idtheftcenter.orgor call 888-400-5530.

“Fraudsters never let a crisis go to waste,” Fleck said. “But hopefully, now that state officials know this fraud is going on in such large numbers, innocent victims won’t be on the hook.”

 

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