61 D.C. workers fired for collecting jobless benefits
Vincent Gray, the mayor of Washington, D.C., fired 61 people Wednesday for collecting jobless benefits even though they were employed.
Those people and 31 others were suspended in February when an investigation into the matter was announced. Since then, it was discovered that this scheme began in 2009 and at least 100 more employees were receiving jobless benefits.
Forty other workers who left before the February suspension have also been implicated.
“We’re not going to tolerate this kind of activity in the government,” said Gray’s spokesman Pedro Ribeiro. “The matter’s been turned over to the Office of the Attorney General, which will use civil litigation to recoup the money.”
Checks came out up to $20,000 for each employee since 2009, with a total of $800,000.
Although more dismissals are expected, three employees were found to have been unaware that they were receiving the benefits. Another employee was allowed to return to work after repaying the money.
An outside auditor has been hired to review the city’s jobless program.
“Like our Mayor, I take these cases very seriously. My office is fully committed to recouping all monies it can from present and former city employees who illegally obtained unemployment compensation while working for the city government,” Attorney General Irvin Nathan said. “As we continue to receive referrals from the Office of the Inspector General — about 30 cases thus far — we are preparing civil collection cases against the individuals involved. We expect to begin filing these cases in the next few weeks.”