PORT WASHINGTON (WITI) — The economy is improving, businesses are expanding and unemployment is the lowest it’s been since 2008. So why are thousands of people with jobs still claiming they’re jobless? It is a common form of fraud, but what’s far less common is jail time for those caught ripping off the unemployment system. A FOX6 investigation finds the state did not seek criminal charges against tens of thousands of people suspected of filing false claims.
I help senior citizens correct bill errors to save money and protect their identities.
On Jan. 5, I helped a client phone the Social Security inspector general’s fraud hotline. The recording told us that there would be a 32-minute wait before we could talk to anyone. Such a delay is a roadblock that discourages reports of fraud.
Thousands of Ohioans are getting asked some curious questions online and over the phone lately, such as: How old is your grandchild? What brand of car do you have? How long is your mortgage?
Many of these people have a question of their own: What is this — some kind of scam?
The answer: The quiz is legit, part of an effort by the state to thwart … scams. Specifically, the filing of phony tax returns.
Under the new program, some Ohioans who have filed their taxes get letters in the mail from thestate Department of Taxation directing them to take a quiz to verify their identity. They are told to go online or dial a number.
The governor of Oregon appears to be on the brink of resigning, after four months of revelations about his fiancee’s roles as a state contractor and first lady.
Among other allegations, Governor John Kitzhaber is accused of steering contracts to his fiancee’s environmental consulting firm. His fiancee, Cylvia Hayes, is accused of using public office to further private interests.
A controversial figure, Hayes has also come under scrutiny for having married an 18-year-old Ethiopian man in 1997, for $5,000 and to help him secure residency in the US, and for participating in the same year in a plan to buy land in a remote part of Washington state, for the purpose of growing marijuana.
The fiscally shaky Medicare, the Defense Department’s Nuclear Security Administration and the Internal Revenue Service were just a few of the federal programs designated as “high risk” by the Government Accountability Office.
The high risk designation identifies federal programs with the greatest “vulnerabilities to fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement or the need for transformation to address economy, efficiency, or effectiveness challenges.”
Tax-refund fraud is expected to soar again this tax season, and hit a whopping $21 billion by 2016, from just $6.5 billion two years ago, according to the Internal Revenue Service.
And the problem—which the agency admits is growing quickly—is compounded by an outdated fraud-detection system that has trouble identifying many attempts to trick it.
“The flaws in [the IRS’] system are so basic,” said Akli Adjaoute, founder and CEO of artificial intelligence firm Brighterion.
“A number of Republicans, including most of their leaders, are bad enough, but over half theDemocrats, including almost all the City Irish, are vicious, stupid-looking scoundrels with apparently not a redeeming trait … a stupid, sodden vicious lot, most of them being equally deficient in brains and virtue.”
That was the assessment of the state Legislature by a freshman assemblyman.
The writer was 23-year-old Theodore Roosevelt, and he kept a private legislative diary when he first came to Albany in 1882.