A benefits scam that would have paid out $90,000 in unemployment checks between June and July to New Yorkers vacationing abroad and to foreign-based scammers, was blocked thanks to a computer whiz at the state Comptroller's office, says the Associated Press (paywall).
The method searches claims made through foreign IP addresses, says the article. Next, the state must collect back benefits illegally secured from people in foreign countries through U.S. bank accounts.
According to the AP, the benefits were transmitted to hundreds of bank accounts and debit cards to people in France, Ireland, England, Finland, Jamaica, Greece, Israel, Germany and the Dominican Republic.
State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said on Wednesday that there's no record yet of how long the improper benefits stopped by his office and identified by the Labor Department have been paid out before June – the maximum state benefit is $405 a week.
In 2011, DiNapoli’s office stopped $1.4 million in unemployment fraud, like checks that were written out to working people, illegal immigrants and the dead, but were cashed in by others.