How Unemployment Insurance Fraud Exploded During the Pandemic

 Monday, July 26, 2021

 ProPublica

A Bronx man allegedly received $1.5 million in just ten months. A California real estate broker raked in more than $500,000 within half a year. A Nigerian government official is accused of pocketing over $350,000 in less than six weeks.

What they all had in common, according to federal prosecutors, was participation in what may turn out to be the biggest fraud wave in U.S. history: filing bogus claims for unemployment insurance benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Fraudsters have filed in high volumes, sometimes obtaining payments from multiple states, despite the fact that a jobless person is barred from getting assistance in more than one state.

One person, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, used a single Social Security number to file unemployment insurance claims in 40 states. Twenty-nine states paid up, sending $222,532.
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