Rep. Niemerg Critical of IDES Mismanagement

Audit Confirms at Least $5.24 Billion in Fraud and

Overpayments During Pandemic; No Accountability

State Representative Adam Niemerg (R-Dieterich) continued his criticism of the mismanagement of the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) which was confirmed by a recent Legislative Audit Commission report. The performance audit released by the Office of the Auditor General reports that overpayments of $5.24 billion in the Unemployment Insurance (UI) and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) programs as a result of fraud, non-fraud, and identity theft for Fiscal Years 2020 to 2022.

“Even with inaccurate and incomplete data, the audit found at least a ‘14% leakage,’ in funds that went to people not entitled to them,” said Rep. Adam Niemerg, a member of the Legislative Audit Commission of the Illinois House of Representatives. “There was no accountability by the IDES Director at the time who was then shuffled over to another state agency when the questioning and scrutiny began. She needs to answer questions about how she mismanaged her department during the pandemic and take responsibility for the $5.24 billion that we know about to date.”

IDES data shows 481 deceased individuals received 10,527 payments totaling $6.0 million in just the UI and PUA programs with 158,054 PUA claimants receiving single payments of $10,000 or more (totaling more than $2.3 billion in benefits) within 30 days or less of applying for these payments. The audit even found that 3,448 incarcerated individuals received fraudulent benefits.

“This is unacceptable mismanagement of taxpayer money,” Rep. Adam Niemerg added. “The state of Illinois needs to go after these criminals who stole money that was intended for actual families who were struggling to put food on the table and pay bills during the pandemic.”

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