This past Friday, Auditor General Frank Mautino’s office released a statement with shocking statistics regarding fraudulent Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) benefits being paid out. The Auditor General’s report revealed that nearly $2 billion was sent to fraudulent claimants during the pandemic. State Representative Martin McLaughlin (R- Lake Barrington) reacted with outrage: “This unacceptable lack of oversight and accounting by IDES is unfair to taxpayers and those who honestly need the assistance.”
According to the Auditor’s report, IDES failed to implement general information technology controls over the federally funded Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program. They also failed to maintain accurate and complete PUA claimant data, or to perform timely cash reconciliations. These failures are irresponsible and unacceptable. Illinois citizens deserve better – plain and simple.
Representative McLaughlin, as a member of the Revenue Committee, was tasked with oversight of IDES benefits. Last Spring, during testimony by the Acting Director of IDES, Kristin Richards, McLaughlin asked when he and his committee could expect an accounting of the total amount of fraud related to claims. Richards gave an uncertain timeline and made an outright denial regarding an estimate. Now we know why.
“We were asked over a year and a half ago by Acting Director Richards for an emergency allocation to track and stop fraudulent claims. Our committee approved this appropriation and it obviously had no impact. Frankly, I’d like to know on what, and where that money was spent, and how it could have failed so miserably. So, where do we go from here? Scammers and criminals MUST be held accountable. IDES must be held accountable. We MUST protect our citizens and their hard-earned tax dollars. I will not rest until we guarantee this happens,” said McLaughlin.
State Representative Martin McLaughlin proudly serves the people of the 52nd District of Illinois.