Busted: Unemployment Money Spent at the Tanning Salon

Stories of technology’s effects on employees are everywhere.  Employees are using technology to espouse negative views about their employers.  Employers claim rights to their employees’ e-mail accounts–both personal and private, even after the employee resigns, as well as employees’ text messages made from the phone the employer provided.  The power of technology has again landed employees in the hot seat, which is likely warmer than the tanning beds they visited at the taxpayers’ expense.


This time, technology has led to the arrest of more than 30 persons on the unemployment-insurance payroll.  The N.Y. Department of Labor tracked the allegedly fraudulent conduct with a new system that cross-checks the names reported by employers within the state as “new hires” against those on the unemployment list.  Clever, isn’t it?

It gets better.  Once the Department generated a list of individuals whose name appeared on both lists, it was able to track the purchases of the unemployment recipients through a debit card that the state issues as part of its unemployment program.  And what were these “newly employed unemployment recipients purchasing with their state-issued debit cards?  Only the essentials, of course–subscriptions to dating websites, tanning salons, and lots of bar bills and restaurant charges.

Both of these new technology initiatives have produced a clear victory for citizens of New York, demonstrating additional benefits employers stand to gain from implementing effective technology measures. 

For a similar story on citizens’ misuse of government money, see Workers’ Compensation Claims – A result of bad luck or bad leadership?

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