A US Department of Labor report said Illinois failed to report the theft of pandemic relief money as required. Illinois has lost more than half of pandemic unemployment funds to fraud.
The US Department of Labor has criticized Illinois for not reporting data on fraudulent pandemic unemployment payments, saying it is difficult to detect future fraud. to prevent when past frauds are not tracked.
Illinois has lost more than half of its pandemic unemployment funds to fraud, according to a state audit.
“Without accurate information about state performance, Congress and the [Employment and Training Administration] are unable to fully assess state activities and mitigate the risk of overpayments and fraud for future programs of a similar nature,” the report states.
A separate report Illinois Auditor General Frank Mautino found that about $1.9 billion of the $3.6 billion distributed from July 2020 to June 2021 had been paid into illegitimate accounts.
Online chat rooms offered tutorials on how to plan for Illinois unemployment benefits through identity theft, according to David Maimon, professor of criminology at Georgia State University.
“We see many identities, many bank accounts, many driver’s licenses associated with Illinois residents” for sale on the dark web, Maimon said.
State administrators said they updated their software to improve security. The Illinois General Assembly also passed two new laws August 5 extending the statute of limitations to prosecute fraudulent stimulus loans and identity theft.
Haywood TalcoveCEO of LexisNexis Risk Solutions, said there is still danger even with the new protections in place.
“They claim it’s fixed, and I’m telling you, it’s not fixed,” Talcove said.
One of the main funds for people out of work was the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Benefit. Illinois was one of four states to report no PEUC required overpayments for any quarter from March 2020 through September 2021.
IDES managers blame fraudulent payments on a lack of proper guidance from the federal government. A first survey by the Chicago Tribune showed that fraud in Illinois was exacerbated by the failure of IDES to follow federal recommendations or adopt free anti-fraud tools.
IDES has faced a litany of problems managing the pandemic, including an unemployment website making it easier for identity thieves when it exposed the Social Security numbers and other personal information of 32,483 claimants. Illinois job board after it first went live. Claimants faced months of delays in receiving benefits and more than 200,000 claimants at one point were waiting for an appeal about their benefits.