February 7, 2012

BUT OF COURSE: D.C. accuses 130 of its own workers of fraud.

About 90 current District employees face dismissal and criminal prosecution after collecting unemployment benefits while on the government’s payroll, the city announced Monday.

An additional 40 former D.C. workers are also facing the possibility of a criminal probe for their role in the scheme that cost taxpayers up to $800,000. “It is unconscionable for anyone — and particularly District of Columbia employees, who should have high ethical standards — to be fraudulently collecting unemployment insurance to which they are not entitled,” D.C. Attorney General Irvin Nathan said in a statement.

“District of Columbia employees, who should have high ethical standards” — you gotta admire a guy who can say that with a straight face. Some are closer to reality, though:

But Ward 2 Councilman Jack Evans, the longest-serving member of the D.C. Council, said fraud has deep roots in District government.

“The city has a problem with this. Some of it’s money management, but some of it’s this culture of, ‘I can steal from the government, and I’m a government employee,'” Evans said. “It’s just a culture that has to stop, and I’m not sure how you make that stop other than to set an example.”

It won’t last.

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