According to the Office of Inspector General of the United States Department of Labor, up to $163 billion in pandemic unemployment payments may be fraudulent.

Thousands of you in Illinois have been the victims of unemployment fraud during our two-year campaign, Working for Chicago.

As much as $163 billion in pandemic unemployment benefits, according to Labor Department Inspector General Larry Turner, may have been obtained through fraudulent means.


Instead of conducting an exhaustive examination of an applicant’s eligibility, many programs relied on self-reported information, which led to funds being sent to the estates of deceased individuals and ineligible applicants for fraud schemes, according to Chairman Gary Peters (D-Michigan) of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

The DOL inspector general has received 143,000 reports of unemployment fraud since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak. More than 450 search warrants and 749 fraud indictments have been carried out by the IG thus far.

Eleven members of the Woo Gang, a Brooklyn-based crime syndicate, have been charged with participating in a multimillion-dollar pandemic unemployment fraud scheme.

More than five years in prison were handed down to an ex-Employment and Training Agency staffer who unlawfully obtained more than $4.3 million in pandemic relief monies.

The OIG report also included a picture depicting the results of a search warrant for unemployment – $500,000 in cash, 30 unemployment insurance debit cards, and many notebooks with personal information, as well as an assortment of weaponry..

The Illinois Department of Homeland Security has repeatedly ignored our requests and those of multiple state senators to provide us with this information at the state level.

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