Kern Co. man charged with extensive, six-figure unemployment fraud

Fraud against California’s unemployment agency, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic, skyrocketed. Now, law enforcement officials are tracking down offenders.

A Kern County man has been arrested following a lengthy investigation into defrauding the California Employment Development Department. 

The big picture: The Kern County District Attorney’s Office announced that Ruben Barajas Rodriguez, 54, has been arrested for allegedly stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars from EDD. 


  • The investigation started in November 2020 and resulted in Barajas being arrested at his home on July 20. 
  • Barajas was booked into the Kern County Jail on multiple counts of grand theft. 
  • His bail is set at $1 million, and the Kern County District Attorney’s Office expects more felony charges may be added. 

What they’re saying: Kern County District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer said she is pleased with the ongoing efforts of law enforcement to uncover EDD fraud that significantly increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

  • “The District Attorney’s Bureau of Investigation is committed to protecting the taxpayer by fighting against all types of fraud,” Zimmer said. 
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