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$6.7 Million in Fraudulent Unemployment Payments Uncovered by Georgia State Audit

An audit by the Georgia Office of the Inspector General found that several state employees received unemployment benefits while they were fully employed during the pandemic.

At least 280 full-time employees received an average of $23,700 each in unemployment payments for a total of $6.7 million in 2020 and 2021 according to the findings by Inspector General Scott McAfee as stated in an article published by 11Alive on January 4, 2023. This figure does not include part-time employees, those who received less than $1,000, or those who received benefits via debit card or left their employment with the state.

The inspector general also found that a Georgia Department of Labor employee received over $30,000 in fraudulent unemployment benefits.

A Georgia Department of Transportation area manager received nearly $40,000 and a Department of Revenue tax examiner received over $19,000. Three Department of Corrections employees also filed unemployment claims while on duty in state offices. Nearly all of the roughly two dozen state employees interviewed as part of the audit have now been fired.

The inspector general’s office is requesting legislation to extend the statute of limitations for prosecuting pandemic-related fraud, as it faces the “uphill, if not impossible, task” of interviewing the over 250 remaining employees who received payments.

The Georgia Office of the Inspector General has requested that the Georgia General Assembly grant it administrative subpoena authority to efficiently obtain financial documents and other governmental records. Without this authority, the office faced over a year of delay in obtaining necessary data for its audit into unemployment insurance fraud.

 

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