Biden’s Pick to Oversee Covid Unemployment Benefits Previously Lost $600M to Fraudsters

Gage Skidmore Flickr

President Joe Biden recently picked Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD) Commissioner Suzi LeVine on Monday began her job as “interim political head of the Employment and Training Administration.” The agency helps oversee unemployment benefits in the coronavirus relief bills and LeVine might be Biden’s worst choice yet. Why? Because LeVine previously lost $600 million in coronavirus relief funds to known Nigerian fraud group, “Scattered Canary.”

The Daily Wire reports:

“According to the U.S. Secret Service, Washington was the ‘primary state targeted’ by the ‘well-organized Nigerian fraud ring exploiting the COVID-19 crisis to commit large-scale fraud against state unemployment insurance programs.’ The group, which historically targeted other American aid funds such as for students, Social Security, and disaster relief, used information from other breaches in Washington to create bogus joblessness claims and hike up the system’s number of claims,” the Federalist reported. “Under LeVine, ESD, overwhelmed with a sudden and ‘unusual’ surge in state requests for financial help despite the falling national number, quickly pushed through the payouts for the claims, intentionally and knowingly skipping the identity verification processes that usually occurs during an unemployment payout ‘waiting week.’ As a result, LeVine later reluctantly admitted the fraud and temporarily suspended all benefit payments for a couple of days, completely cutting off legitimate claimants as the department and law enforcement began the financial cleanup and attempted recovery from the bogus claims.”

Washington conducted five audits of the missing fund, the first finding that a software liability allowed Scattered Canary to fraudulently claim hundreds of millions of dollars in state aid. Washington was able to recover $357 million of what was lost, but that still left $243 million missing from the fund. LeVine also had to announce that other fraudsters took $1.6 million in state aid.

Not only was LeVine the head of the department when these failures occurred, but she allegedly tried to interfere with the audits. The Seattle Times reported that State Auditor Pat McCarthy said LeVine imposed “significant constraints” on her attempts to audit the ESD. McCarthy said LeVine tried to limit “interviews with key ESD employees and delay[ed] access to important documents.” McCarthy eventually had to threaten to report LeVine’s “management interference” if she was not able to conclude her audit.

The fact LeVine was never fired for the scandal is telling. However, Biden’s decision to reward the woman with the temporary position is even more troubling for the many Americans relying on unemployment benefits.

Follow us on Twitter by clicking HERE!


Your email address will not be published.

By submitting this form, I hereby consent to's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy, which permits and its affiliates to contact me.