The governor Wanda Vázquez Garced classified as unacceptable a supposed scheme in which employees of the Department of Labor and Human Resources charged between $ 300 and $ 400 to applicants for the unemployment benefit to speed up their petition.
The president maintained that the agency’s secretary, Carlos Rivera, ordered an investigation and called on those affected to go to the authorities.  “ It is not only unacceptable, but it is also illegal and that citizen who has been asked by an official for financial compensation, I call him to file a complaint, to notify the Department of Justice because that will not be allowed under any circumstances, “he said.
He added that, if the scheme is confirmed, it will be investigated. “A person who does that is committing a crime,” he said.
The program of Jay and his X-rays (Telemundo) revealed yesterday, Tuesday, that citizens have denounced that agency employees have demanded money from them as an exchange to attend to their requests more quickly and resolve the so-called controversial points that have delayed aid to the thousands of unemployed as a result of the emergency by COVID-19.  For the past nine weeks, thousands of unemployed workers have had to line-up for miles to apply for aid. Some, to this day, have not yet received a single penny, according to the testimonies collected by the country’s media.
For her part, the Commissioner resident in Washington, Jenniffer González warned that it is a federal crime since the federal funds granted, specifically under the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program (PUA), granted under the Cares Act. “Any person who you have requested or are requesting (money in exchange), you are committing a federal crime and believe me that there will be no leniency against those officials. This is very serious,” she stipulated.
As the governor did, she invited those affected to go before the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). “Any official or anyone who intervenes, whether they are employed by the agency or not, is committing a federal crime and I urge people who have been impacted by this to call the FBI so they can file and take action on the matter,” González noted.
Regarding delays in processing applications and how the agency is handling the problem after the closure of the servicarro, or drive-thru at the Puerto Rico Convention Center Vázquez said that an initiative is being worked on, in conjunction with the Department of the Treasury, to automate the requests, which will be detailed later.
“That we use technology to help our citizens receive that help as soon as possible,” she said.