In a series of votes on October 17, the Board of Supervisors voted to approve several motions for L.A. County, including:
Establish Anti-Skimming Unit
The Board of Supervisors voted for the Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) to identify funding not to exceed $750,000 in Fiscal Year ‘23-‘24 and $1,092,632 in FY ‘24-‘25 to establish an Anti-Skimming Unit within the District Attorney’s Office to combat theft of EBT benefits.
The goal is to investigate and prosecute those responsible for stealing public assistance benefits via skimming and other illegal methods of electronic theft.
In 2023, Los Angeles County lost more than $39 million to card skimmers.
The anti-skimming unit would collaborate closely with DPSS Welfare Fraud to receive and share EBT skimming theft activities and would then be able to take more immediate action to prosecute theft – conduct multiple types of surveillance, serve search warrants on businesses and homes, remove skimming machines from retailer/vendor locations, conduct routine checks of point-of-sale machines at frequently skimmed locations, retrieve and hold evidence for prosecution, effectuate arrests in and outside of the state of California, as well as analyze the data to determine potential skimming locations.
“I’m pleased to see that the state budget allocated resources to improve EBT card technology because that’s half of the problem,” said Supervisor Holly Mitchell. “It’s also my understanding that beginning in May of 2024, EBT cards are to be issued with Chip technology.”
Supervisor Hilda Solis was also complimentary, saying, “I want to acknowledge the swift work of our department of public social services, working with the District Attorney’s Office, Sheriff’s Department, as well as local state and federal law enforcement partners. It’s hard enough to underscore just how serious a crisis is.”
Reimagining Los Angeles County’s Approach to Human Trafficking
The board of supervisors also directed the Department of Consumer and Business Affairs through its Office of Immigrant Affairs and Office of Labor Equity to provide the board with a report in 90 days on ways to address human trafficking.
The motion calls for Information on past efforts in addressing human trafficking in L.A. County, as well as ways to eliminate human trafficking, and provide support to survivors — with specific attention to the issue of labor trafficking in impacted immigrant communities in the county — including the San Gabriel Valley and La Puente, and other areas such as Pomona.
As well as requesting an analysis and recommendations on how to adopt a county-wide public health approach to combat human trafficking, recommendations for actions on establishing a pilot worker’s resource center in Monterey Park, among other things, were also discussed.
Restricting the Leasing-Renting of RV Vehicles
The Board then directed county staff to report back to the board in writing within 90 days with an analysis and any recommendations “to curtail the selling, leasing, or renting of RVs and oversized vehicles along public streets.”
Supervisors asked that the report also include a plan for increasing fines as well as a plan for how those fines can be brought back into L.A. County’s homeless initiative.
The move comes amid an increase in people living in RVs which has increased to 11,500 people living in 6,500 RVs across Los Angeles County owned by “van-lords.”
Moving Parking Enforcement Services from the Sheriff’s Department to the Department of Public Works
In a motion put forth by Supervisor Holly Mitchell, Los Angeles County staff would put forth a pilot implementation plan in 120 days to include specific steps required to execute parking enforcement services before July 1, 2024.
The plan would include a full business analysis, including organizational structure with appropriate levels of management and staffing, budget and funding analysis, and proceed with the steps required to transfer all parking enforcement services and authority from the Sheriff’s Department to the Department of Public Works (DPW) Transportation Services Division.
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