- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 14, 2012

The D.C. Office of the Attorney General filed suit against 13 former and current city employees accused of obtaining unemployment benefits while they were employed by the city government, officials said Thursday.

Through the lawsuits, officials are hoping to recoup unlawful payments that range from $4,320 to $13,790 as part of an ongoing investigation into “inexcusable fraud cases” that came to light in earlier this year, D.C. Attorney General Irv Nathan said.

The D.C. Department of Employment Services is referring cases to the D.C. Office of the Inspector General, which in turn may refer cases to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for criminal prosecution or to Mr. Nathan’s office for civil action, officials said.

“Those who have defrauded the District government must be held accountable for their actions,” Mayor Vincent C. Gray said.

In February, city officials said more than 100 employees were involved in the fraud dating back to 2009. In the early stages of the investigation, some employees were terminated while others were placed on administrative leave for 15 to 30 days, depending on his or her agency, position or collective bargaining agreement, according to DOES.

Mr. Nathan said the accused workers may have violated the False Claims Act because they are required to confirm their unemployed status on a frequent basis to receive benefits.

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