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D.C. Employee Pleads Guilty To Criminal Fraud In Unemployment Scheme

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A D.C. employee has pleaded guilty to second-degree fraud, a criminal charge, in connection with an unemployment double-dipping scheme.
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A D.C. employee has pleaded guilty to second-degree fraud, a criminal charge, in connection with an unemployment double-dipping scheme.

D.C.'s crackdown on a massive unemployment fraud scheme involving District government workers continues. Authorities are now using the courts to go after employees who cashed unemployment checks while working for the city and at least one former employee is facing criminal prosecution.

As authorities continue to go back and pore through records, the number of double-dipping employees continues to balloon. It was nearly 300 at last count, according to sources. The city's tab for all of this double-dipping could easily stretch into the millions.

City officials have pledged to get the money back through repayments and civil lawsuits. At a press conference earlier this year, D.C. Attorney General Irv Nathan made it clear that the U.S. Attorney's office could be brought in.

"With respect to those that are the most egregious cases — we will definitely refer them to the U.S. attorney's office for prosecution," Nathan said. Now, that appears to be happening.

Last week, former DCRA staffer Danika Washington appeared in D.C. Superior Court. She pleaded guilty to second-degree fraud. According to court records, Washington received nearly $20,000 in unemployment checks over a one-year span while working for the city.

This is the first criminal prosecution involving D.C. government workers and the unemployment fraud scheme, the U.S. Attorney's office has confirmed to WAMU 88.5.

But a spokesperson for the U.S. Attorney wouldn't comment on the case because other investigations are pending.

The D.C. Attorney General's office is also ramping up its role. The office is preparing to file civil lawsuits against people who took part in the scheme to help the city recover some of the money, a spokesperson says.

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