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Auditor decries 'gaps in accountability' in $315,000 unemployment fraud case

Added 12-07-21 01:23:02pm EST - “The Washington State Auditor's Office (SAO) issued a new report Monday charging the Employment Security Department (ESD) with "gaps in accountability" that allegedly allowed one former employee to misappropriate $315,282 and authorize…” - Washingtonexaminer.com

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Posted By TheNewsCommenter: From Washingtonexaminer.com: “Auditor decries 'gaps in accountability' in $315,000 unemployment fraud case”. Below is an excerpt from the article.

The Washington State Auditor’s Office (SAO) issued a new report Monday charging the Employment Security Department (ESD) with “gaps in accountability” that allegedly allowed one former employee to misappropriate $315,282 and authorize an additional $121,503 in “questionable unemployment benefit payments.”

“Much of the massive fraud that hit our unemployment system in 2020 was orchestrated by cybercriminals from across the globe, but this case is different,” said State Auditor Pat McCarthy in a statement. “It’s a reminder to every public agency to be vigilant in preventing fraud, whether it is perpetrated by actors on the outside or inside of government.”

The former ESD employee in question has been identified as Reyes De La Cruz, III, by the United States Department of Justice, which brought a 20-count indictment against him on Sept. 24 for allegedly “filing false unemployment claims and demanding kickbacks.”

“Dedicated investigators continue to build criminal cases against those who sought to unlawfully enrich themselves during our country’s pandemic crisis,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Tessa M. Gorman in a statement at the time. “In this case, an insider used his official access and knowledge to illegally enrich himself.”

Monday’s SAO report found, “No one at ESD reviewed many questionable decisions made by the employee,” according to the press release.

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