How did it take an unemployment insurance program that has been under scrutiny for the last three years until now to finally crack down on fraud by 130 city workers in Washington, D.C.? We may not know why, but according to The Washington Post, ”the city estimates it has paid out as much as $800,000 in unemployment benefits to working city employees since 2009.’? Plus, ”close to 90 city employees were suspended and face potential firing and prosecution for receiving unemployment benefits while still working for the city.’? And that’s not counting the ex-employees. About 40 ex-city workers were found to have cashed unemployment checks they were not entitled to and also face charges. (I just can’t believe it took three years! Just look at employment records and see who’s been getting unemployment payments seems pretty easy to me, so let’s talk.)
The fraud was taking place across various sectors of the District’s government, including the public schools and the D.C. Council staff. This type of fraud is not uncommon in unemployment programs. Often workers simply apply for checks and appropriately receive them when they are unemployed. The issue of fraud arises when they go back to work and continue to receive the checks. (OK, so again why does this take three years to figure out?)
The article notes that the city’s ”crackdown represents an unprecedented review of the city’s 33,000-strong government workforce.’? (Long overdue!? The next step the city is taking is to make sure the individuals who owe this money are held accountable for these overpayments.
Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, ”D.C. Workers Face Firing for Unemployment Fraud,” published by The Washington Post, February 6, 2012.
Nearly 90 city employees were suspended Monday and face potential firing and prosecution for receiving unemployment benefits while holding their city jobs, District officials said.
In addition, about 40 former city workers cashed unemployment checks they were not entitled to and also face sanctions. In all, the city estimates it has paid out as much as $800,000 in unemployment benefits to working city employees since 2009.