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Department of Labor Acknowledges that Fraudsters Stole Over 46 Billion in Pandemic Aid

Departamento del Trabajo reconoce que estafadores robaron más de 46 billones de dólares en ayudas durante la pandemia

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The Department of Labor acknowledged in a memo that fraudsters allegedly stole at least $46 billion in benefits intended for the unemployed during the pandemic. They did so by using the Social Security numbers of deceased or imprisoned people.

“The purpose of this memorandum is to alert you to concerns the Office of Inspector General (OIG) has determined needs immediate action,” the document says.

In addition, the office acknowledges that on Feb. 1 and June 2, 2021, the OIG issued alert memos to the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) that cumulatively identified more than $16 billion in benefits during the pandemic from unemployment insurance that were potentially fraudulent. However, they now discovered that the figure is higher.

“The OIG issued alert memoranda to the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) that cumulatively identified more than $16 billion3 in potentially fraudulent unemployment insurance (UI) pandemic benefits paid in four specific high-risk areas, to individuals with Social Security numbers: (1) filed in multiple states, (2) of deceased persons, (3) used to file UI claims with suspicious email accounts, and (4) of federal prisoners. Since then, the OIG has identified an increase of $29.6 billion in potentially fraudulent,” he explained.

Arresting fraudsters

The bureau noted that its 190,000 unemployment fraud investigations since the start of the pandemic have now led to more than 1,000 individuals charged.

After learning of the situation, Ron Wyden, a Democratic senator who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, said the new report demonstrated the urgency of improving unemployment benefits security controls.

“I’ve long said we need a national set of technology and security standards for state systems to better prevent this kind of fraud, and we’re going to keep working to get our reforms passed,” Wyden said in remarks reported by the Daily Mail.

Williams Perdomo es periodista y escritor, especializado en las fuentes Política y Cultura.

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