Washington State Loses "Hundreds Of Millions" To Nigerian Unemployment Claims Fraud Scheme

Washington State Loses “Hundreds Of Millions” To Nigerian Unemployment Claims Fraud Scheme

Just when you thought the world has reached a level of peak absurdity, the Nigerian scheme makes a grand reappearance.

Washington state officials admitted losing “hundreds of millions of dollars” to an international fraud scheme, originating out of Nigeria, that robbed the state’s unemployment insurance system and could mean even longer delays for thousands of jobless workers still waiting for legitimate benefits.

As the Seattle Times reported, Suzi LeVine, commissioner of the state Employment Security Department (ESD), disclosed the staggering losses during a news conference Thursday afternoon. LeVine declined to specify how much money was stolen during the scam, which she said appears to be orchestrated out of Nigeria but she conceded that the amount was “orders of magnitude above” the $1.6 million that ESD reported losing to fraudsters in April.

While LeVine said state and law enforcement officials were working to recover as much of the stolen money as possible, she declined to say how much had been returned so far. She also said the ESD had taken “a number of steps” to prevent new fraudulent claims from being filed or paid but would not specify the steps to avoid alerting criminals.

Thursday’s disclosure helped explain the unusual surge in the number of new jobless claims filed last week in Washington, which as we showed this morning was the state with the highest weekly increase in claims.

On Wednesday, the state’s monthly employment report for April showed Washington with a seasonally adjusted unemployment rate of 15.4%, up from 5.1% in March. The national unemployment rate for April stood at 14.7%, seasonally adjusted.

For the week ending May 16, the ESD received 138,733 initial claims for unemployment insurance, a 26.8% increase over the prior week and one of the biggest weekly surges since the coronavirus crisis began. That sharp increase came as the number of initial jobless claims nationwide fell 9.2%, to 2.4 million, according to data released earlier in the day by the Labor Department.

Indeed, the surge in claims made Washington the state with the highest percentage of its civilian labor force filing unemployment claims – at 30.8%, according to an analysis by the Tax Foundation, a nonpartisan Washington, D.C., think tank. Nevada, the next-highest state, reported claims from 24.5% of its civilian workforce.

It now appears that many of those claims were fictitious and emanated from some computer in Nigeria.

The disclosure came as the state was already struggling to process an unprecedented wave of legitimate jobless claims amid one of the worst economic crises in U.S. history. Some additional delays in benefits payments to legitimate claimants are likely as the ESD subjects all claims to more scrutiny.

“This makes me the most angry, and the most upset — that we need to delay payments to Washingtonians who need the benefits,” LeVine said adding that “we need to also build in more time for analysis. So going forward, we want to set expectations that we will add an additional one to two days to our processing time.”

That delay follows a decision last Thursday to temporarily suspend benefit payments for two days. The delay came after the ESD disclosed that it had seen a surge in bogus claims reportedly filed by identity thieves who appeared to be targeting the extra-generous benefits available under federal pandemic relief legislation.

That same day, the Secret Service issued an alert describing Washington as the top target so far of a Nigerian fraud ring “exploiting the COVID-19 crisis to commit large-scale fraud against state unemployment insurance programs.”

It remains unclear how the fraudulent benefit payments made their way all the way to Nigeria.

via zerohedge


      1. The Nigerian apes have been defrauding our government for decades…I’m not sure whether to nuke the Nigerian apes or the government morons who distribute the $$ without verifying and validating where and to whom the $$ is going too.

  1. I am glad the Washington state folks are so smart? Just think 🤔 if their politicians were mentally challenged how bad this could have been. Common Sense is probably not one of their strong 💪🏾 suits but the taxpayers in the state must not care?

  2. Washington states governor is Democrat Jay Inslee, another in a long list of Democrat failures. I can only say i’m not surprised. The three Stooges have more on the ball than the Democrats.

    1. What an insult to the three stooges at least they were entertaining at half the cost. Does the people in charge of un employment not verify claims are authentic before issuing a check. First thought would be look at Levine’s bank account.

      1. I’m thinking of collecting some funds to screen print “Dump Inslee” yard signs. If anyone want to help let me know. I’m Tom, a registered Republican, conservative in Spokane. Reply to: cidecar2@yahoo.com

  3. Speaking of Responsibility, where was everyone who are employed and paid to watch and monitor such state level accounts as Employment Security ?!?! They must have been out to lunch and/or asleep at the switch!! I find this situation to be totally unacceptable, but becoming common place in so many state, in one way or another !!!!! We The People Must Hold Our States Accountable At All Levels !!!! Today it more about Spending More Then You Bring In, mostly for Cronyism, favoritism and Paid Benefit for Illegal Voting Rights !!! Where is the proper practice of living within you BUDGET, of course you have to know the Definition of Debt and Budget and Economics?!?! Our America is becoming more about any given radicalized state or an other, So Much For The UNITED STATES OF AMERICA !!!
    Wake Up America and be Very, Very, Very careful for what and for who you vote for !!! Voting across party lines is viable in today’ Anti-American Political Environment !!!! Our Freedoms, Our Constitution and Our America is in the Coming Elections !!!! Ask specific questions about future elected city, state and federal level candidates as to where they stand on issues that concern Americas future !! I agree there are candidates on both sides of the isle Demoncrats and Republican RINO’s (Republicans In name Only) ,who Must be Challenged

  4. i can identify my computer location as Nigerian or any place in the world. VPN allows the masking from actual source. My question to the governor is: how did the scammers get the personal vital stats to apply for unemployment comp ? Did the processors of the claims mail the checks to the home address of the claimant or to another address and why? Would not the be a red flag ? How many of the claimants are WA democrat residents or demoRat party hacks ? A demonRat party hack stole the data base. Who and how ?
    This is exactly how the vote of the people will be hacked. If they can steal the money with the data base, they can submit mail in ballots by the ton. With the identification of the voter, signature, and party affiliation on the ballot envelope, Scraping the reds and counting the Blues insures demonRat results.
    The reason to make ballots postage free was because it cost to much money to stuff the ballot box. Now the tax payer pays for the voter fraud. A postal employee can insure red envelopes never make it to the polls. WI had that problem this year.
    I will never mail my ballot for all the reasons stated. With that said, I am not assured the ballot in the drop box would even be counted as voted. The one that empties the drop box could easily separate the red ballots out on the way to the polls for count.
    There should not be any personal identity or party affiliation on the outside of the ballot envelope, period !

      1. We need some good been around while COMMON SENSE PEOPLE to help our government people think correctly on some of the issues at hand.

    1. Just another way of laudrying money! The Dems do it so well. Investigate it and you will find that out. Who in the living hell falls for these scams these days anyway!

  5. I am willing to bet all other Demo and Rino Governor State are allowing this to happen. But MSM will not. REPUBLICANS in these states better get on it at WARP SPEED.

  6. Maybe we should all mail an unemployment claim to Washington they don’t seem to check the validity of any of them. What with passing out all this money we might just as well gather some for ourselves and maybe a few undocumented relatives if we have any. Better than poker.

  7. Recently the US Supreme Court unanimously upheld a federal law, that previously was struck down by a lower California Supreme Court.
    This action from the US Supreme Court upheld the President’s bid to prohibit funds for illegals, and forbids encouraging illegal aliens to remain in the U.S. by making a ”gift of Public funds “ to them. Such funding is therefore illegal.

  8. Nigerians are known for scamming senior citizens out of huge sums of money. They prey, they say, on seniors because the seniors have lost some of their capacity to reason things out and most of them have an inherent trust in other people. I find it incredible that a government is more susceptible to being conned than seniors-clearly government don’t have any inherent trust in people, they don’t even trust their citizens to make decisions about their own health (financial and physical). So, the only other possibility is that their capacity to reason is lower than a senior who is over the hill and incapable of good decisions with money. Funnt how we end up giving huge sums of money to such people every year-year after year. And, they are financial basket cases.

  9. This should never have happened if the State of Washington would hire people who are not so inept at their jobs. Also, the people of the state need to STOP ELECTING useless people like Sin-a-tors Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell and leftists Govs. like Jaybird Inslee. Oh well, some of the voters in WA state never learn. They get what they ask for. SHAME ON THEM!

  10. Sounds like bad state financial management and really neat poor business processes.

    Washington state has been managed by liberal/democrat politicians for 30 years now. Pretty much explains the failed business practices.

    Jay Inslee is the governor and he is just about and much a soros puppet as you can find. He doesnt have the brains of a hamster but the dumb seattle voters voted for him. The rest of washington state hates him


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