The authorities in New York have foiled an unemployment benefits scam which would have seen US$90,000 transmitted to bank accounts in several countries including Jamaica.
State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said a new computer sleuth has stopped the unemployment cheque that were to be sent in June and July to New Yorkers, apparently vacationing abroad and to foreign-based scammers.
The benefits were transmitted to hundreds of bank accounts and debit cards in countries that include Jamaica, France, Ireland, England, Finland, Greece, Israel, Germany, and the Dominican Republic.
He said further investigations could lead to charges. The discovery is part of $1.4 million in unemployment benefits in 2011 that DiNapoliís office stopped that were written out to working people, illegal immigrants and the dead, but were cashed in by others.
DiNapoli said his auditors found the state paid nearly $1 million more in benefits to people who didnít qualify for unemployment cheques in June and July before the new software could stop the payments.
For about six years, New Yorkers have been able to go online to certify that they are still eligible for unemployment benefits, although they must first apply in person.
The online recertification replaces in-person visits in which recipients had to show identification. A person must be ready and able to work to get a cheque. Being in another country means they arenít considered ready to work in New York.