The U.S. government estimated unemployment fraud during the pandemic cost taxpayers up to $135 billion or about 11% to 15% of the total amount of unemployment insurance benefits paid during the pandemic.
That’s according to the latest report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office, which the U.S. Department of Labor disputes.
A U.S. government report released Monday estimates that there could have been more than $60 billion in unemployment insurance fraud during the pandemic.
The report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office says that figure is an estimate spread over the entire unemployment system and should be “interpreted with caution.”
Since the pandemic hit and government relief attempted to ease the pain of economic shutdowns, concerns of taxpayer money being wasted or fraudulently obtained has been a pressing issue.
In Pennsylvania, the state may see a special prosecutor appointed to focus on cases related to unemployment fraud.
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin announced a deal aimed at cracking down on fraudulent unemployment claims, a move that garnered support from members of the business community.
The governor and Attorney General Jason Miyares signed an agreement with the Virginia Employment Commission, which allows the attorney general to represent the VEC in the prosecution of criminal unemployment compensation fraud cases.
“The VEC has asked that I take on this responsibility, and I enthusiastically agreed to the VEC’s request,” Miyares said in a statement. “Protecting the Commonwealth from crime is one of my top priorities as Attorney General. Fraudulent claims must be prosecuted and fraud on the unemployment fund diverts resources from those who need them most.”
A woman arrested in New York along with an unnamed “coconspirator” for allegedly perpetrating $1.9 million of pandemic unemployment fraud was a previously deported illegal immigrant, Just the News has learned.
Yohauris Rodriguez Hernandez, a citizen of the Dominican Republic, was convicted for running a tax fraud scheme in 2014. She was deported upon her release from prison in 2017. Together, Hernandez and Gerardo Enmanuel Luna Marmolejos stole more than 40,000 identities to file fraudulent income tax returns and collect refunds from the IRS.
Michigan estimates losing $8.5 billion to unemployment fraud since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the CEO of a fraud prevention company says that number is closer to $11 billion.
Haywood Talcove, the CEO of LexisNexis Risk Solutions’ Government Group, which provides fraud prevention tools to 26 state unemployment programs and the 50 top US banks, told The Center Square in a Zoom interview that profiles on the encrypted messaging app Telegram are fraudulently selling Michigan unemployment benefits.
Unemployment fraud exploded during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the U.S. Labor Department Inspector General’s semiannual report to Congress.
Approximately $872 billion in federal funding was allocated to unemployment benefits in the last year, and at least 10% was estimated to be paid “improperly, with a significant portion attributable to fraud.”
Ohio continues to add resources to a public-private partnership to combat unemployment fraud, which the state says has cost taxpayers more than $200 million, and the newest additions are a pair of big names.
Gov. Mike DeWine announced recently a new agreement between the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and Google to conduct data analytics on all outstanding claims. The state will pay the tech company $1.4 million to use Google Analytics to help discover fraud.
“This is one of the first things the private sector group told me when they came in is drilling down on this data and doing it in a very sophisticated way,” DeWine said.