State uncovers unemployment fraud scheme targeting Hogan, Rutherford, Robinson and other high-ranking state officials

COLUMBIA, Md. (Dec. 9, 2020)—Not even Maryland's highest ranking officials are immune from scams.

That includes Gov. Larry Hogan, Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford, Labor Secretary Tiffany Robinson and several other cabinet members—all of whom were targeted in an unemployment insurance fraud scheme—the state of Maryland announced on Wednesday.

The scheme involved the use of stolen identities and the filing of fraudulent claims that were frozen upon detection. Both the Maryland State Police and the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of the Inspector General are investigating the matter. The Maryland Department of Labor is reviewing all claims in which the applicant listed the state as their most recent employer.

Both Hogan and Robinson urged Marylanders to remain vigilant against the threat of fraud.

"We have been more aggressive than any state in going after the rampant fraud that is targeting unemployment insurance systems nationwide," Hogan said in a statement. "The vast majority of claims we have flagged have been confirmed as fraudulent, saving taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars. This is another example of how this kind of fraud can happen to anyone, and we need to remain vigilant."

"This latest fraud scheme only reinforces the need to maintain the heightened security measures in place to protect Marylanders and the integrity of the state's program," Robinson said in a statement. "We are working closely with our law enforcement partners to ensure that all of these criminals are brought to justice."

Maryland has seen widespread unemployment insurance fraud schemes before.

At a news conference on July 15, Hogan announced that the state had uncovered a "massive sophisticated criminal enterprise involving widespread identity theft and coordinated fraudulent unemployment insurance claims."

The scheme involved more than 47,500 fraudulent claims that totaled more than $501 million.

Since that time the Maryland Department of Labor has implemented more aggressive security measures to detect and flag fraudulent claims.

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