WA Legislator: ESD Doesn’t Really Know How Much Was Scammed
You may have seen the breaking stories about how the Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD) has almost 'magically' been able to retrieve $300 million of the stolen money taken by a Nigerian or West African based fraud ring.
According to multiple sources, including KOMO-TV-Radio in Seattle, Federal officials working with the state have been able to 'capture' partially laundered funds from a wide variety of financial institutions before the fraud artists could get it out of the country.
However, some doubts are being cast about that theory, and the accuracy of the figures. First, we spoke with a couple of financial industry people who said it's NOT that easy to get the money back. It depends upon how long it's been left in an account before being withdrawn. And once it leaves that 'laundry' source and gets into the "system" it's as good as gone. Laundering is the process of depositing stolen money in various accounts, then transferring sometimes to another account, or using it to buy pre paid cash cards. This helps dilute the paper trail. It moves the money ahead of the 'chasers.'
To recover the money you need to A) determine which check was from a fake claim, B) where was it sent? C) where was it first deposited? D) where was it transferred after that? To another account? Was it converted into cash cards, such as Green Dot? You can now see how difficult it is, and why fraudsters launder it this way.
Officials say many of the fraudulent ID's used in the ESD scam were likely ones that were taken in the massive 2017 Equifax credit reporting bureau hack that affected people worldwide.
State Rep Jim Walsh of Aberdeen posted on this Facebook page Friday. He wonders if the ESD even knows exactly how much was taken:
" .two weeks ago, the agency suspended unemployment benefits payments for up to two days because of a rise in the number of fraudulent claims for payment. But some unemployed people said they are still waiting for benefits for a suspension that has stretched beyond two days."
So, ESD said scammers had stolen around $200M...but now the agency has retrieved $300M? The truth is easy to deduce: ESD doesn't yet know the scope of the fraudulent payments it made.
Despite the (brittle, phony) "good news" in this press release, the Commissioner still needs to resign."
Some good points there. How can you recover MORE than what was allegedly taken? The calls for the resignation of the ESD Commissioner are getting louder and louder, and other top oversight officials in the Department as well.