Guam’s Department of Labor hit the “pause” button on the most recent batch of unemployment payments because of an increase in suspicious activity.
GDOL director David Dell’Isolla confirmed to PNC that the total claimants ready to be paid numbers about 28,500 and 21,000 of those have already been paid.
Another 7,000 or so are in the wings ready to be sent out in the next batch. And that next batch is what had to be paused because fraudulent claims are possibly being paid out.
“When the vendor was running the batch, he noticed the high dollar amount. So what they did was, they said let’s just run this batch through these five fraud measures and let’s just see what comes out. And, there were a lot of hits,” Dell’Isola said.
Dell’Isola says they typically batch every week so if you’ve been waiting for this payment, you’ll get it when the next round goes out.
“We’re going to clean those up, remove the fraud, move those forward and add some more days and do it for next Tuesday’s batch,” Dell’Isola said.
Guam DOL is being hammered with fraud claims, with Dell’Isola saying they’re literally getting hundreds of bogus claims a day.
“Every week, they get more and more sophisticated and zeroing in and adjusting their claims to make it look real and it’s getting harder and harder to pick them out. And it’s taking more and more of our time,” Dell’Isola said.
It’s mostly large organized fraud rings trying to hack the system and while on a much smaller scale there are local cases too.
“We do get people who have more than one claim, using different information. We have some people that are not putting in income correctly…they’re lying. We do catch that,” Dell’Isola said.
Dell’Isola says they’ve already spoken to GPD and the FBI and they’re helping with the fraudulent cases.
GDOL says they’re also standing up their appeals and overpayment divisions for PUA.
if you think you might be in a fraudulent situation, Dell’Isola says just come clean.
“We’ll circle around and we’ll catch up to you, you’re not going to get away with it. Even though you might think you did. We’re putting together all the mechanisms to circle back and catch it. So my best advice to you is, voluntarily come in and report it before you involuntarily find out,” Dell’Isola said.