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THE INVESTIGATORS: LWC paid $6.2M in unemployment funds to prisoners, audit shows

Money Generic AP 6-15-2020
Money Generic AP 6-15-2020(AP Images)
Published: May. 3, 2021 at 8:46 AM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - An audit conducted by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor’s Office reveals the Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) paid millions of dollars in unemployment funds to prisoners.

The audit, released Monday shows the agency responsible for handling unemployment funds gave out more than $6 million in benefits to 1,195 incarcerated individuals who did not qualify for the program.

Those improper payments were made between January to November 2020. According to the findings, 92 inmates received only one week of benefits but more than a thousand inmates received more than one week of benefits. In response to the audit’s findings, LWC Secretary Ava Dejoie sent a letter to the temporary legislative auditor, acknowledging the improper payments. The following is part of that response.

“My administration remains committed to aggressively identifying and investigating criminals who target the important economic safety net that is our unemployment trust fund. We will continue to us every tool within our arsenal to fret out those who seek to defraud our system, including those who have stolen the identities of the incarcerated and inmates who are principals or co-conspirators to the fraudulent schemes.”

The 9News Investigators requested an on camera interview with a representative from LWC, but that request was denied.

To view the full audit click here.

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