• John Ley

Nigerians steal “hundreds of millions” of your unemployment dollars

Washington state has the highest claims in the nation. (As a percentage of civilian workforce)

Every payday, your employer writes a check to the Washington Employment Security Division, buying “insurance” for you, to pay benefits if you become unemployed. The fund had almost $4 Billion in it a month ago.

Ever since Governor Inslee shut down our state’s economy with his “stay home, stay safe” order, over 1.6 million Washington workers have filed for unemployment. Last week, we had the highest number of unemployment claims in the nation, as a percentage of our workforce.

(Graphic courtesy of Glen Morgan & Washington Policy Center)

Even worse, our state was scammed by Nigerians. The ESD admitted the fraud took “hundreds of millions” of YOUR dollars. Washington is the #1 target of a Nigerian fraud ring stealing your money.  Because of the scam, the state is now DELAYING making payments to legitimate citizens filing for unemployment benefits.

The Seattle Times reports the ESD Director “acknowledged problems, promptly updated the system and presented a detailed plan to resolve 100% of claims by June 15.” Unemployed people may have to wait another 3 weeks before receiving benefits! That’s outrageous. These are insurance benefits YOU already paid for!

The state knew we had a problem long ago, and apparently could not fix it. The Seattle Times reported there was “a project started in 2007 to replace Employment Security’s mainframe for $46.8 million. The cost rose to $64.2 million in 2016, at which point the new system worked but still had issues to fix under warranty.”

Our state that is home to Microsoft. We have Google, Amazon, and a host of other high-tech firms that are EXPERTS at internet security. The press is reporting “missed red flags”. How is this possible that so much taxpayer money is spent and we end up with systems incapable of protecting sensitive state data and being scammed?

Some estimates indicate the unemployment fund could be bankrupt in as little as 100 days. The Washington Policy Center reported: “At the current burn rate of almost $1 billion per week, a portion of which is paid from federal dollars, the fund will be depleted within weeks.”

(Graphic courtesy of the Washington Policy Center)

In corporate American, department heads would be fired, and the CEO’s job would be on the line with this kind of debacle. Will voters say “enough!” this year and fire incumbents?

Where’s the accountability? Where’s the oversight?


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