The Dundalk Eagle : 2020-07-23

NEWS : 5 : 5

NEWS

July 23, 2020 The Dundalk Eagle Page 5 Hogan Administra­tion uncovers massive fraud scheme Governor Larry Hogan today announced that the State of Maryland has uncovered a massive and sophistica­ted criminal enterprise involving more than 47,500 fraudulent unemployme­nt insurance claims in Maryland and totaling over $501 million. The governor was joined for today’s announceme­nt by Maryland Department of Labor Secretary Tiffany Robinson and Special Agent Derek Pickle from the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General (DOL-OIG). Mar yland’s swift and decisive actions to notify federal authoritie­s and expose this illegal scheme helped shed light on related fraudulent criminal activity in other states across the country. The Maryland Department of Labor continues to coordinate on the ongoing investigat­ion with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the DOL-OIG. “Thanks to the efforts of our Labor Department, not only did we identify the fraudulent activity here in Maryland and save the taxpayers half a billion dollars, but we also helped federal authoritie­s uncover related illegal activity in states across the country,” said Governor Hogan. “This criminal enterprise seeking to take advantage of a global pandemic to steal hundreds of millions—perhaps billions—of dollars from taxpayers is despicable. We will continue to work with both the U.S. Attorney and the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General on this ongoing investigat­ion, both here in Maryland and in other states across the country, to do whatever it takes to ensure the perpetrato­rs are apprehende­d and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.” “My office and the entire law enforcemen­t community are committed to bringing to justice fraudsters who are preying on citizens during this unpreceden­ted public health crisis by using their stolen personal informatio­n to fraudulent­ly attempt to obtain unemployme­nt benefits,” said U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur. “We are grateful for our partnershi­p with the State of Maryland in stopping unemployme­nt fraud and believe that this joint federal-state partnershi­p will continue to bear fruit. We will continue to work together to prevent this abuse as well as continue our outreach efforts to make the public aware of COVID-19 scams and frauds. I urge citizens to remain vigilant and to report suspicious activity or fraudulent use of their personal informatio­n.” “Today’s announceme­nt results from our strong partnershi­p with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the State of Maryland, and demonstrat­es our joint commitment to combating fraud in the Unemployme­nt Insurance program,” said Derek Pickle, Special Agent-in-Charge, Washington Region, U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General. “The OIG will continue to work closely with our law enforcemen­t and state workforce agency partners to aggressive­ly pursue criminals who choose to enrich themselves without regard for taxpayers and individual­s who truly need assistance.” The Maryland Department of Labor is now reporting the following: Over $4.3 billion in CARES Act and regular unemployme­nt insurance benefits payments have been paid out. 96.4% of all claims have been successful­ly cessed. The proportion of pending cases (3.6%) is below pre-pandemic levels. COVID-19 UPDATES: In the second part of his press conference, Governor Hogan provided a number of COVID-19 updates to Marylander­s. On Tuesday, he met with the Maryland Coronaviru­s Recovery Team of doctors, public health experts, scientists, business, and labor leaders, and held an emergency meeting of the full Cabinet. Bars and Enforcemen­t. The governor continued to stress the importance of local leaders enforcing public health requiremen­ts in bars and restaurant­s. State health officials are strongly advising that young people should avoid crowded bars, house parties, and large gatherings of any kind. Any Marylander­s who have engaged in this type of behavior should immediatel­y get tested for COVID-19. Out-of-State Travel. State health officials are strongly advising that Marylander­s refrain from traveling to areas that are experienci­ng rapidly escalating numbers. Any Marylander pro- who has traveled to, or is returning from travel out of state, especially from any states that are experienci­ng spiking numbers should immediatel­y get tested. Safer At Home. The governor continues to advise Marylander­s to heed all state and local public health guidance: All Marylander­s are still safer at home, particular­ly older and more vulnerable population­s. Employers should continue to encourage telework for their employees whenever possible. Marylander­s should not use public transporta­tion unless it is absolutely necessar y. Everyone should continue wearing masks or face coverings in public areas, businesses, and on public transporta­tion. Mar ylanders should continue practicing physical distancing, staying six feet apart when possible, and should avoid all large gatherings. Local jurisdicti­ons continue to submit their proposed reopening plans for Maryland public schools to the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) ahead of the August 14 deadline. MSDE will institute protocols that follow CDC guidance, take into account the input of public health experts, and provide flexibilit­y to local school systems. State Superinten­dent of Schools Dr. Karen Salmon will provide an update to Marylander­s next week. While a number of states have experience­d testing shortages, Maryland continues to expand its testing capacity, with a strategic stockpile of tests and a long-term strategy. Maryland has more than 220 testing sites available across the state. Visit covidtest.maryland.gov to find a site that is convenient for you. OPIATE DETOX • SUBOXONE ZUBSOLV • BUPRENORPH­INE Private Office Setting RAYMOND J. 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