The U.S. Department of Labor reported that Illinois did not report the theft of pandemic relief money when needed. Illinois lost more than half of its Pandemic Unemployment Fund to fraud.
The U.S. Department of Labor criticized the state of Illinois for not reporting data on fraudulent pandemic unemployment benefits and said it would be difficult to prevent future fraud if past fraud is not tracked.
Illinois lost more than half of its Pandemic Unemployment Fund to fraud, according to a state audit.
“Without accurate state performance information, Congress and [Employment and Training Administration] It is not possible to fully assess the country’s activities and mitigate the risk of overpayments and fraud for future programs of a similar nature,” the report said.
Another report by Illinois Attorney General Frank Moutino found that of the $3.6 billion distributed between July 2020 and June 2021, about $1.9 billion was paid to fraudulent accounts. rice field.
According to David Maimon, a professor of criminology at Georgia State University, the online chat room provided a tutorial on how to plan for unemployment benefits in Illinois through identity theft.
“We see a lot of identity information, bank accounts and driver’s licenses related to Illinois residents being sold on the dark web,” Maimon said.
State administrators say they have updated the software to improve security. The Illinois legislature also passed two new laws on August 5, extending the statute of limitations on fraudulent stimulus loan prosecutions and theft background checks.
Haywood Talcove, CEO of LexisNexis Risk Solutions, says that even with new protections in place, there is still danger.
“They claim it’s been fixed, but I tell you, it’s not,” Talcove said.
One of the primary funds for the unemployed was the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation. Illinois is one of four states that did not report her required PEUC overpayment in any quarter from March 2020 to September 2021.
IDES officials blamed the fraudulent payments on a lack of proper guidance from the federal government. An early investigation by the Chicago Tribune found that fraud in Illinois was exacerbated by IDES’ failure to follow federal recommendations and adopt free anti-fraud tools.
IDES faced many challenges to deal with the pandemic. After the unemployment website first went online, it made identity theft easier by exposing the Social Security numbers and other personal information of 32,483 Illinois unemployment applicants. The applicant was several months late in receiving his benefits, and at one point he had over 200,000 applicants waiting for a call about their benefits.