16 charged in L.A. County EBT fraud scheme that swiped funds from needy families

Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascón is shown talking
Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. George Gascón, pictured in May, announced Tuesday that 16 people have been charged in an electronic benefits transfer fraud scheme.
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)
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At least 16 people have been linked to an alleged fraud scheme that stole information and money from California electronic benefits transfer account holders, pilfering federal funds intended to provide food assistance to families in need, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.

The plot involved illegally accessing families’ EBT accounts by creating cloned cards to withdraw “large cash amounts” at ATMs, leaving families in the lurch when they needed those funds, Dist. Atty. George Gascón announced Tuesday.

“Stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars intended to feed children and families is nothing short of disgusting,” Gascón said in a statement.


A bill that would have given school children an EBT card for summer meals and during other closures died in the California Legislature.

Aug. 15, 2022

The 16 people have been criminally charged in the case, most facing a count of grand theft and grand theft of access card information. During their arrests, officials seized more than 300 cloned EBT cards and $130,000 in cash, Gascón said. He said the fake cards had an estimated value of about $400,000.