New Report Nearly Triples Estimated Amount Covid Fraudsters Stole In Unemployment Benefits

Americans will pay on multiple levels for this overspending long after the lockdowns have concluded.

Report: New York Paid $11 Billion In Fraudulent Unemployment Claims In A Single Year Of Covid

The Empire State's problems keep getting worse as a new report reveals the state paid out billions in fraudulent unemployment claims.

40,000 Michigan residents wrongfully accused of unemployment fraud can sue state for redress: '350 people pled guilty to a crime they didn’t commit'

Over the course of a two-year period, a supposedly faulty computer program at the Michigan Unemployment Benefits Office prompted authorities to erroneously accuse 40,000 residents of unemployment fraud. Now, the state supreme court has determined that those residents affected by the accusations can sue the state for redress.

“The state is prohibited from violating the rights the Constitution guarantees. If it does so, it is liable for the harm it causes,” Justice Megan Cavanagh wrote.

“If our Constitution is to function, then the fundamental rights it guarantees must be enforceable. Our basic rights cannot be mere ethereal hopes if they are to serve as the bedrock of our government,” she continued.

For attorney Jennifer Lord, this decision from the state supreme court is just the first step in finding justice for those wrongfully accused.

"I think there’s got to be some recognition that it’s not just the dollars that were taken that need to be recognized as harm," Lord said. "This was really unbelievably stressful for a lot of people."

It was likely more than stressful, as Lord also noted, "Three hundred and fifty people pled guilty to a crime they didn’t commit," just to make the problem go away.

According to reports, an additional 1,100 Michigan families eventually declared bankruptcy after hiring attorneys and paying other court fees to fight the false charges. Others had difficulty finding employment or securing a home loan. There were also likely untold social costs.

The faulty computer program operated while Governor Rick Snyder, a Republican and the predecessor to current Governor Gretchen Whitmer, was still in office, though the exact years are unclear. According to Lord, this computer program cost state taxpayers $46 million to purchase and yet "was wrong 93 percent of the time."

The Unemployment Benefit Office has since admitted the error, but Lord said that her goal is to have the state admit the error on the record. Because of the Michigan Supreme Court ruling, the case will now go to the trial level. Class-action lawsuits are expected to be filed against the state soon.

The Michigan Supreme Court decision was 4-3. Per the AP, all three dissenting justices were nominated by a Republican.

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Joe Biden appointed to run employment claims someone who allowed hundreds of millions of small businesses’ tax dollars to fall into the hands of a Nigerian fraud ring.

DOJ: Rapper arrested for alleged $1.2M unemployment fraud, made whole song, music video about crime

The Department of Justice announced last week that federal authorities have arrested a rapper they claim defrauded the government of coronavirus-related unemployment benefits, then boasted about the fraud in an entire song and music video.

What are the details?

Rapper Nuke Bizzle, whose real name is Fontrell Antonio Baines, was arrested on Friday in Los Angeles for "fraudulently applying for more than $1.2 million in jobless benefits, including by using stolen identities," according to the Justice Department.

Investigators claim Baines exploited the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance provision of the CARES Act, which was intended to expand pandemic benefits to independent contractors, self-employed workers, and others.

More from the DOJ:

According to an affidavit filed with the complaint, Baines possessed and used debit cards pre-loaded with unemployment benefits administered by the California Employment Development Department (EDD). The debit cards were issued in the names of third-parties, including identity theft victims. The applications for these debit cards listed addresses to which Baines had access in Beverly Hills and Koreatown.

Evidence gathered during the investigation established that at least 92 debit cards that had been pre-loaded with more than $1.2 million in fraudulently obtained benefits were mailed to these addresses, according to the affidavit. Baines and his co-schemers allegedly accessed more than $704,000 of these benefits through cash withdrawals, including in Las Vegas, as well as purchases of merchandise and services.

Officially, Baines is charged with three felonies: access device fraud, aggravated identity theft, and interstate transportation of stolen property.

Baines was initially taken into custody in Las Vegas on Sept. 23. At the time, he had eight debit cards in his possession, according to investigations, seven of which were allegedly not in his name.

What else happened?

According to investigators, evidence of the crime includes a song and music video in which they claim Baines boasts about his alleged crimes.

From the DOJ:

The affidavit further alleges that Baines bragged about his ability to defraud the EDD in a music video posted on YouTube and in postings to his Instagram account, under the handles "nukebizzle1" and "nukebizzle23." For example, Baines appears in a music video called "EDD" in which he boasts about doing "my swagger for EDD" and, holding up a stack of envelopes from EDD, getting rich by "go[ing] to the bank with a stack of these" – presumably a reference to the debit cards that come in the mail. A second rapper in the video intones, "You gotta sell cocaine, I just file a claim…."

Nuke Bizzle Ft. Fat Wizza - EDD (Official Music Video)


Baines faces a maximum of 22 years in prison if convicted of all three charges.