Share the article: Pritzker Fails to Protect Fraud Victims, Wastes Billions in Taxpayer Money

Today the Chicago Tribune published an expose detailing how the Pritzker administration failed to protect Illinoisans from an onslaught of fraudsters gaming the state’s unemployment insurance program to steal taxpayer money meant for those experiencing joblessness during the pandemic. 

TRIBUNE – How Illinois failed to stop a flood of unemployment fraud during the pandemic: “Records obtained by the Tribune show the flood of fraud happened after IDES failed to follow federal recommendations to adopt free fraud-fighting tools that were made available in 2019. Only recently did the agency begin using those tools. A separate process to help identify problematic claims also didn’t become fully functional until February, nearly a year into the pandemic.”

If someone had fraudulent claims made in their name and then subsequently became jobless, they most likely spent months in purgatory, working with a failing state agency to receive the aid they needed during a global pandemic. That’s what happened to  Kristin Deming, a Lockport woman who “said that when she tried to file an unemployment claim in March, she learned someone had already received benefits in her name.” She then spent three months “trying to get IDES to rectify the problem.”

Not only were victims of fraud denied important unemployment benefits, likely billions of dollars in taxpayer money was wasted and handed over to scam artists while Pritzker’s administration stalled on implementing the necessary safeguards. The Tribune reports that while the state hasn’t released figures yet, that “if the amount tracks with national estimates, it could involve billions of dollars.”

Disgusted by this abject failure, Illinois Republican Party Chairman Don Tracy released the following statement:

“The Pritzker administration’s incompetence has cost countless jobless individuals the benefits they deserve and wasted billions of dollars in taxpayer money. On a day when the Governor is touting bond agencies upgrading the financial position of Illinois from the worst state in America to a slightly better worst state in America, victims like Kristin Deming are struggling to recover because the State of Illinois failed them.”


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