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Unemployment fraud possibly topped $1 billion in 2020, Washington state auditor says

April 14, 2021

The amount of fraudulent unemployment insurance claims paid out by the State of Washington last year was likely far higher than the $647 million identified by state officials, and possibly as great as $1.1 billion, according to reports published Tuesday by the state auditor’s office.

In a set of four reports on the state Employment Security Division, auditors laid out a detailed accounting of the rampant fraud that afflicted Washington’s unemployment services — a phenomenon seen nationally — as the COVID-19 pandemic exploded and caused record-braking claims as businesses were forced to close.

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