State Dept. of Labor identifies 100,000 cases of fraud in unemployment benefits


Conn. (WTNH) — Haywood Talcove from Lexis Nexis Government Risk Solutions says his company is working with a dozen states including Ohio to updated digital locks to prevent imposter fraud. And Connecticut could use the help.

“This is the largest financial disaster in our country’s history. It makes Enron look like child’s play,” added Haywood Talcove from Lexis Nexis Government Risk Solutions.

Enron was the energy and accounting scandal of the 1990’s that cost $11 billion in shareholder losses.

But fraud prevention expert Talcove from says the massive amount of fraud in the COVID unemployment benefits program isn’t being talked about.

Haywood Talcove, the CEO of Lexis Nexis Government Risk Solutions, “This isn’t Connecticut specific. It’s a national problem. $200 billion has been stolen.”

State officials say organized criminal groups are stealing information and taking advantage of old software systems. The sophisticated groups are from Nigeria, Russia and China.

Deputy Commissioner Dante Bartolomeo of the State Department of Labor says, “It’s very difficult for the Department of Labor to be vigilant on programs that are brand new.” And says the agency had to set up fraud prevention as they were creating the programs for unemployment programs.

CTDOL identified 100,000 fraudulant benefit applications from this past year of the pandemic. None were paid out saving taxpayer dollars. 20,000 were flagged in one week by the CTDOL Integrity Unit.

News 8 Chief Political Correspondent Jodi Latina asked, “Was there something different in that batch that would lead you to say that’s fraud?”

Deputy Commissioner Dante Bartolomeo from the state Department of Labor said, “Yes.” But she admitted she couldn’t elaborate because “it would give more information to the criminals.”

The state’s Chief Information Officer, Mark Raymond tells News 8, “We are actively looking into additional solutions that will allow us to provide things like ID validation, and ID proofing and identity screening.”

Adding that “IT administrators across the globe are working to improve unemployment systems to detect and prevent fraud, and it’s critical that there is a national strategy and coordination. In Connecticut, our team has in-house capabilities to detect fraud patterns, and our systems, including DOL’s, generally have built-in preventative checks for things like bot-led accounts. Our team is committed to exploring new technology that will allow us to do our job better.”

Talcove warns, “Connecticut is still under massive attack once you put the digital lock on the front door then what will happen is fraudsters will go away.”

If you are a victim of identity fraud – in this unemployment benefit scheme – file a report with the police. You can log onto the state’s step-by-step process to report the fraud.

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