Enzi: Wyoming Was Target of Nigerian Unemployment Insurance Fraud Ring

in Unemployment/News/Coronavirus

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By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily

U.S. Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyoming, is concerned about how President Donald Trump’s administration is handling fraud and abuse by foreign entities regarding unemployment insurance.

“It’s concerning that my state of Wyoming was a target for a foreign fraud ring,” Enzi said during a Finance Committee hearing this week focused on unemployment insurance during the coronavirus pandemic.

Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia, who testified at the hearing, said the virus upended a lot of things, including the ability to foil attempts to defraud the unemployment system.

Scalia said there are many different mechanisms in place to address the “highly-sophisticated criminal enterprises that have engaged in fraud in the system.”

“We are working with our inspector general, we’ve been working with other federal agencies and we’ve been working with the states,” Scalia said. “We will continue to work on it hard. We know it’s real. We know it’s in some cases interfering with the delivery of benefits to people who are entitled to them, so we will stay on it.”

In May, the Secret Service alerted several states that a well-organized Nigerian fraud ring was carrying out a sophisticated attack to fraudulently apply for and receive millions of dollars in unemployment insurance.

Washington state was the main target, but there was evidence of attacks in six other states, including Wyoming.

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