By Jackson Kincaid
A federal investigation has found that thousands of federal employees wrongly claimed COVID unemployment bailouts. Many of the employees were still working, some even from their work desk.
During the height of the coronavirus, large sums were paid out to those who had lost their jobs due to lockdowns. However, the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General found that nearly 2,000 applications for “Lost Wages Assistance” and unemployment insurance payouts had the names of DHS employees who were ineligible since they were, of course, employed by the government agency.
Of the 2,393 applications filed with DHS employees’ names, of those, a mere 584 were confirmed as actually eligible for the program, with many of the remaining showing signs of fraud such as incorrect amounts.
In some cases, the fraud may have been of criminal origins - the results of identity theft of employee's identification, etc. However, several indicate that employees themselves filled out the forms from their desks, on DHS computers.
In October, the Department of Justice said it had charged five former or current IRS employees with pandemic fraud seeking more than $1 million, which they allegedly used on “cars, luxury goods, and personal travel, including trips to Las Vegas,” according to the Daily Wire.
“We have tentatively identified over 280 full-time state employees who erroneously received unemployment insurance (UI) payments in 2020 or 2021. These payments averaged $23,700 per employee and totaled over $6.7 million. And this is a conservative estimate.” – Georgia’s Inspector General