VAN NUYS, Calif. – Thirteen people were arrested at a Van Nuys-area motel for allegedly taking part in a fraud and identity theft ring that police said stole millions of dollars in state welfare funds, authorities said Thursday.
According to the Los Angeles Police Department, the arrests were made Tuesday at a motel in the 4700 block of Sepulveda Boulevard, where officers went in response to a tip from the community. The suspects were living at the motel, police said.
During a search at the motel, officers found skimming devices, card readers, $36,062 in cash, and an array of false identification cards and documents, police said.
“The suspects have been stealing millions of dollars monthly in the state of California using skimmers and automated teller machines to drain Electronic Benefit Transfer accounts,” according to a statement from the LAPD.
Police said they suspect the 13 people arrested “may be part of a Romanian syndicate known to target persons experiencing economic hardship for their EBT cards.”
The names of the suspects were not immediately released.