Biden’s labor agency appointee previously led Washington department that lost $600 million in unemployment checks to Nigerian fraud scheme


The Biden administration will tap Suzi LeVine to join the Labor Department as interim political head of the Employment and Training Administration, Bloomberg reported. Starting on Monday, LeVine will “lead the federal sub-agency office that helps states manage unemployment benefits,” according to the Seattle Times. Previously, LeVine was the commissioner of the Washington state Employment Security Department, which under her watch fell victim to a Nigerian fraud scam that lost hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars.

LeVine admitted last May that “hundreds of millions of dollars” had been defrauded by international scammers.

“Impostors have used the stolen information of tens of thousands of people in the state to fraudulently receive hundreds of millions of dollars in unemployment benefits,” according to Oregon Public Broadcasting.

The Nigerian fraud ring called “Scattered Canary” utilized stolen information of Washington residents from previous data breaches, such as the 2017 Equifax breach, to file for unemployment. The ESD allegedly attempted to rush out unemployment checks and didn’t do enough to verify the identities of the recipients.

The results of an audit of LeVine’s Employment Security Department were released in December, which found that the ESD’s “known and suspected” fraud loss was about $600 million from over 122,000 fraudulent claims as of June 30, 2020. The government was able to recover $250 million of the missing funds, but Nigerian fraudsters were able to pocket $350.9 million. – READ MORE

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