Washington state recoups nearly $500,000 in stolen unemployment money

Fraud rings stole billions of dollars from at least 11 states, including Washington, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ferguson’s novel approach to rooting out the embezzled funds included searching for bank accounts where the scammers had not yet withdrawn all stolen funds and then initiating a legal effort to reclaim the funds.

Investigators from the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) analyzed some 96,000 unemployment claims the state Employment Security Department (ESD) had identified as fraudulent or probably fraudulent.