D.C. plans terminations, criminal charges after fraud probe

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Local,Capital Land,DC,Alan Blinder

The District announced Monday that about 130 current and former city employees face dismissal and criminal prosecution after allegedly collecting unemployment benefits while on the government’s payroll.

“It is unconscionable for anyone — and particularly District of Columbia employees, who should have high ethical standards — to be fraudulently collecting unemployment insurance to which they are not entitled,” D.C. Attorney General Irv Nathan said in a statement.

Workers implicated in the citywide sweep will be placed on leave while their employing agency investigates the findings of the joint District and federal probe, D.C. said. Current District employees who are ultimately found to have committed fraud will be fired.

Termination, though, may be the least of some employees’ worries. The city said it would send the names of crooked employees to federal prosecutors.

The city will also seek to recover any money that employees fraudulently obtained.

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray said the city’s internal probe shoud serve as a warning to would-be cons.

“We will not tolerate fraud in this government, but will root it out and hold people accountable,” Gray said in a written statement. 

The District’s government employs about 32,000 people.

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