The New York State Comptrollers Office has stopped $90,000 in unemployment checks that were to be sent out in June and July to New Yorkers on holiday abroad or to foreigners defrauding the system.
The state Department of Labor discovered more improper payments about to be doled out to undeserving individuals living in foreign countries.
How much has been paid out, for how long and to whom? How did this happen?
Those are questions that need to be answered upon further investigation.
Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli deserves credit for detecting the fraud. Both the comptroller and the Labor Department adjusted their software to discover recertification claims sent through foreign IP addresses.
Recovering the money in foreign countries will not be easy.
But hundreds of bank accounts and debit cards were involved in a host of foreign countries, mainly in Europe and the Caribbean.
Uncovering fraud is an ongoing process. The comptrollers office stopped $1.4 million in unemployment benefits in 2011 that were written out to working people, illegal immigrants and the deceased, but cashed by others.
Recently hired state workers scammed the system: 91 of them owe the state $105,000 for receiving unemployment benefits as well as a paycheck from the state.
One of the requirements to collect unemployment is to be ready and able to work. It stands to reason that you cannot be prepared to work in New York if you are vacationing in France.
Any payments going outside the country whether to American citizens or foreign nationals gaming the system there needs to be zero tolerance, Mr. DiNapoli said.
What a racket.