More than $500 Million Stolen From State of Maryland In Unemployment Fraud Scheme
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan announced that the state had discovered a “massive” unemployment fraud scheme, bilking the state’s unemployment insurance fund of more than $500 million dollars, and possibly stealing much more from other states across the country on Wednesday. Governor Hogan held a press conference to announce the discovery of the fraud ring by the state.
The organized fraudsters allegedly used information stolen from the state from previous data briefs to impersonate the identity of tens of thousands of people, filing 47,500 fraudulent unemployment insurance claims.
The state currently believes that approximately $501 million in unemployment insurance benefits were dispersed to fraudulent entities. The fraud is being investigated by a federal prosecutors, with authorities currently seeking to discern if the perpetrators are based in the United States or elsewhere.
“This criminal enterprise seeking to take advantage of a global pandemic to steal hundreds of millions, perhaps billions, of dollars from taxpayers is despicable,” said Hogan.
Maryland state officials became suspicious of a fraud when an elevated level of out-of-state claims were filed with the state Department of Labor, in which supposed Maryland residents claimed they needed their benefits in other states. After detecting a pattern of fraudulent behavior, state officials notified the federal government of the hoax, citing the possibility that the same criminals could be rigging the buffed unemployment benefit systems of other states during the coronavirus pandemic and related recession.
“It is obviously a coordinated criminal enterprise because this is not just random people in their basement that stole somebody’s identity,” said Hogan of the fraud ring’s organization.
Watch Hogan’s remarks on the fraud scheme: