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.
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.
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.”