The Office of the Inspector General of Puerto Rico (OIG) reported today that it referred to the federal authorities an alleged fraud scheme with the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).
It was detailed in a press release that the OIG found that a claimant received more than $ 30,000 in federal funds from the PUA using different social security numbers.
The person “ made claims under the same name and address, but changing social security numbers. As part of the investigation, the OIG identified that the submitted claims could have been made fraudulently, using false information and being disbursed by the Department of Labor and Human Resources (DTRH), more than $ 30 thousand of federal funds from the PUA to a only individual in a period of less than 45 days "indicated the OIG.
" These claims were made through the electronic platform provided and enabled by the DTRH, to obtain possible benefits from federal public funds, and validating the deficiencies in the information recognition of the claimants that the system used by the Department for the applications for unemployment benefits possesses. The PUA platform automatically determines the minimum benefit of $ 66.00, even when no evidence of income is presented ”, he explained.
The OIG mentioned that the government hired the company Evertec Group LLC (contract number 2020-000023) to process online applications for state unemployment and those of PUA.
“In the best interest of looking after public funds and timely addressing the vulnerabilities presented by the aforementioned programs, several findings have been identified that require this first report to be presented in order to ensure that public funds be assigned to a person who has been legitimately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic "said the OIG.
" The OIG in its ministerial duty to prevent corruption and misuse of Public funds, makes the corresponding referrals to the federal entities concerned, so that the irregularities and possible illegal conduct identified can be evaluated, as well as to continue the ongoing investigation in the D Department of Labor and Human Resources . The foregoing does not prevent future related reports from being presented, "he said.
The OIG urged that 787-679-7979 be contacted if it is aware of any irregular act in government operations. It can also be done by email [email protected].