Los Angeles County

A former state employee has been charged with fraudulently funneling over $200,000 in disability payments to herself while she worked for the state’s Employment Development Department, prosecutors stated.

“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. “I will continue to strive for clean government and rid corruption from public offices.”

Karina Maria Valdez, 38, was charged with one felony count each of embezzlement, misappropriation of public funds, perjury, identity theft, and grand theft.

Beginning in 2014, Valdez is accused of manipulating the accounts of people seeking disability benefits while she worked as a disability insurance program representative.

She allegedly routed debit cards with fraudulent information to herself and withdrew roughly $215,000 over a five-year period, according to authorities.

Valdez is presumed innocent unless proven guilty.

By Raul

Raul Hernandez is a former journalist. He has worked as a newspaper reporter for more than 30 years at the El Paso Herald-Post, El Paso Times, Press Enterprise in Riverside, California and the Ventura County Star in California. He was a court reporter for more than 20 years.

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