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DC Workers Stole $800K In Jobless Benefits

From an un-outraged Washington Post:

D.C. workers face potential firing in alleged unemployment fraud

By Mike DeBonis
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.

They face "potential firing and prosecution"? What would they have to do to face certain firing and prosecution? Not be in a public sector union?

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.

“By holding people accountable, that sends a clear message we’re not tolerating this behavior,” said Lisa Mallory, director of the D.C. Department of Employment Services, which administers the jobless benefits program.

Yes, they all must be given four weeks vacation administrative leave – with pay.

Monday’s action, which follows at least three years of scrutiny from local and federal authorities, represents an unusually broad crackdown on corruption in the District government workforce.

Of course any crackdown on corruption in the District is ‘unusual.’

The volume of benefits claims has soared alongside the District’s jobless rate, and investigators have taken an increasing interest in how the unemployment program guards against fraud.

D.C. Inspector General Charles J. Willoughby and Attorney General Irvin B. Nathan are involved in the investigation, and authorities anticipate referring at least some cases to federal prosecutors for criminal action

"Some"? Are there any Republican public sector employees in Washington, DC?

Employees accused of wrongdoing worked in various arms of the District government, including the public schools and the D.C. Council staff, according to a high-ranking official to Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) who was not allowed to speak publicly on the investigation.

How surprising.

Some of the employees, Mallory said, received $20,000 or more; others received only a few hundred dollars.

The alleged fraud is not complicated, nor is it uncommon in unemployment insurance programs: Workers apply for checks and receive them legitimately for a time but fail to inform authorities when they go back to work

It could happen to anyone.

Still, this could be an argument for making people physically report to an unemployment office.

The District employees placed on leave Monday were informed of the allegations against them in letters delivered at least 15 days ago. “They are afforded an opportunity to provide the history of what transpired,” Mallory said. “Most of these individuals, from what we can tell, did not do that.”

They can’t even be bothered to try to lie about it.

In early 2009, the federal Labor Department “detailed several long-standing and serious concerns” about the unemployment insurance department in a briefing given to Joseph P. Walsh, the employment services director at the time. In December 2010, Walsh told Willoughby his department had installed a new fraud-detection system and other improvements.

In a July 2011 letter to Gray, Willoughby said that his office was conducting an “ongoing special evaluation” of the unemployment compensation office and that he expected to submit a report later in the year.

The letter accompanied a management alert that found “essential safeguards” in an agency computer system were “inappropriately turned off” from February 2009 to July 2010, allowing an unknown number of checks to be mailed to ineligible recipients. According to the letter, a city contractor told investigators that a former agency manager had ordered the safeguards to be disabled, perhaps to allow officials to more easily handle a record number of claims

Oh, that was surely why they turned it off. Because they were swamped with claims.

And never mind that Washington, DC has had the lowest unemployment in the nation.

This article was posted by Steve on Tuesday, February 7th, 2012. Comments are currently closed.

8 Responses to “DC Workers Stole $800K In Jobless Benefits”

  1. GetBackJack says:

    (don’t remember attribution. I apologize to the original author)

    What if I told you that the Chairman and CEO of IBM, Samuel J. Palmisano, approached President Obama and members of his administration before the healthcare bill debates with a plan that would reduce healthcare expenditures by $900 billion? Given the Obama Administration’s adamancy that the United States of America simply had to make healthcare (read: health insurance) affordable for even the most dedicated welfare recipient, one would think he would have leaned forward in his chair, cupped his ear and said, “Tell me more!”

    And what if I told you that the cost to the federal government for this program was nothing, zip, nada, zilch?

    And, what if I told you that, in the end and after two meetings, President Obama and his team, instead of embracing a program that was proven to save money and one that was projected to save almost one trillion dollars – a private sector program costing the taxpayers nothing, zip, nada, zilch – said, “Thanks but no thanks” and then embarked on passing one of the most despised pieces of legislation in US history?

    Well, it’s all true.

    Samuel J. Palmisano, the Chairman of the Board and CEO for IBM, said in a recent Wall Street Journal interview that he offered to provide the Obama Administration with a program that would curb healthcare claims fraud and abuse by almost one trillion dollars but the Obama White House turned the offer down. Mr. Palmisano is quoted as saying during a taping http://video.foxnews.com/v/4366002/did-white-house-snub-fraud-fighter/ of The Wall Street Journal’s Viewpoints program on September 14, 2010:

    “We could have improved the quality and reduced the cost of the healthcare system by $900 billion…I said we would do it for free to prove that it works. They turned us down.”

    A second meeting between Mr. Palmisano and the Obama Administration took place two weeks later, with no change in the Obama Administration’s stance. A call placed to IBM on October 8, 2010, by FOX News confirmed, via a spokesperson, that Mr. Palmisano stands by his statement.

    Speaking with FOX News’ Stuart Varney, Mort Zuckerman, Editor-in-Chief of US News& World Report, said, “It’s a little bit puzzling because I think there is a huge amount of both fraud and inefficiency that American business is a lot more comfortable with and more effective in trying to reduce. And this is certainly true because the IBM people have studied this very carefully. And when Palmisano went to the White House and made that proposal, it was based upon a lot of work and it was not accepted. And it’s really puzzling…These are very, very responsible people and don’t have a political ax to grind.

    In Mr. Obama’s shunning of a private sector program that would have saved our country almost $1 trillion in healthcare expenditures, presented to him as he declared a “crisis in healthcare,” he proves two things beyond any doubt: that he is anti-Capitalist and anti-private sector in nature and that he can no longer be trusted to tell the truth in both his political declarations or espoused goals.

    —————–

    As Newt Gingrish has pointed out over and over (to deaf ears all around) Mastercard, Visa and American Express have developed software systems that are so good at detecting fraudulent use of a cardholder’s account that their incident rate is approaching no more than .09% of all cardholders being successfully scammed. Which the card issuer must make good. They’ve radically limited their exposure – and thus mine and yours – to fraudulent dipping into the candy jar precisely because they are on the hook for reimbursement.

    What percentage of the federal budget – across the board, all departments – represents Fraud?

    Depends on whose numbers you believe, but a responsible high water mark is around 20%. Or, (fiscal 2011) roughly 800 billion dollars

    If Mastercard, Visa and AMEX can do it in service to self-interest, why can’t …..

    Oh, never mind.

    Read Jonathan Cahn’s HARBINGER.

    • tranquil.night says:

      It really isn’t puzzling. It’s right in front of our faces.

    • proreason says:

      Good post GBJ, but let me complete it, in case it isn’t obvious to some.

      Medicar fraud is allowed to continue for two reasons.

      The first is that it puts financial pressure on private health providers, who must charge more than the market price would be for OTHER SERVICES in order to cover the cost of the midicare fraud…ergo, medical costs have skyrocketed for years. Which is a good thing for the leftists, because destroying private health care has long been their number one goal.

      Second, Medicare fraud is another redistribution plan, perhaps the biggest redistribution sheme of all. It redistributes hundreds of milliions from your pocket into criminals’ pockets, aka democrats’ pockets. It would be interesting to see a study about the size of political donatiions made by medicare fraudsters.

      It’s also another form of fascism, with the state controlling private industry…in this case by letting fraud run rampant.

  2. heykev says:

    Since they haven’t killed anyone on the job, they will keep their jobs. Since these lawyers who watched porn all day every day on the job are still government employees, so will they. It’s not like they killed anyone (on the job, had those killings on video and confessed to it).

    Good post GBJ. This type of info and not the sniping at one another should be what MItt and Newt should be pointing out about our Socialist-in-Chief.

  3. proreason says:

    more redistribution.

    some of them had ancestors who were slaves; or at least, they look like they might have had some

  4. mr_bill says:

    This just proves that the “rich” aren’t being taxed enough. /sarc

  5. untrainable says:

    …authorities anticipate referring at least some cases to federal prosecutors for criminal action…
    “Some”? Are there any Republican public sector employees in Washington, DC?
    Yes there are. The few who will be prosecuted. The dems will get off with a slap on the wrist, if that, and probably be allowed to keep whatever money they stole (as long as they vote Obama in the fall). That’s the way this administration works.


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