The resident commissioner Jenniffer González on Tuesday condemned the thousands of cases of fraud to the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA, for its acronym in English) investigated by the Department of Labor and Human Resources (DTRH), as well as the Puerto Rico Police.
González emphasized that these cases have a negative effect on the image of Puerto Rico before the United States, for which he pointed out that this scandal could delay the new federal allocations for the PUA that the president Donald Trump made viable by executive order. He specified that the federal government could also expand the requirements to access the funds and require the implementation of greater controls.
“You see that there are people in Puerto Rico, even knowing that they are employed, such as government employees and municipal employees, who always kept getting paid, who always stayed on the payroll, who have requested this, I think it speaks of how badly we can be when they want to take advantage of a benefit that is for those people who are on the street and who do not have work “ established in a radio interview (WKAQ – 580 AM).
The DTRH confirmed yesterday that at least 10,000 public employees remain under investigation after they applied for the PUA while still working in the government. For its part, the Department of Justice did not rule out that the total number of fraud investigations into this federal program amounts to about 100,000.
“These are federal funds, so here the federal agencies have direct intervention. Believe me, this is a federal crime “, he stressed.
The resident commissioner, who is in Washington DC these days participating in negotiations to include Puerto Rico in the new economic stimulus package, urged those involved in the scheme to return the money to the government.
“Give back the money you received. The Department of Labor and the Department of the Treasury are working platforms together, so all those social security numbers are being corroborated with the Treasury platform and that is why they have been able to identify these people who did not qualify and already had work because it can be know through the payroll of the municipality or state government, “he detailed.” Do not wait for them to visit your home with a search warrant, with an arrest warrant “, established.
González established that last week he met with the Secretary of Labor, Carlos Rivera Santiago, who assured him that they are working to attend to the PUA or Unemployment Insurance applications that are still pending.