CRIME

D.C. unemployment fraud: Nearly half of accused were school bus drivers, attendants

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Nearly half of the cases in the unemployment fraud scandal in the District came from one group of seasonal employees.

Nearly 90 people were placed on leave and face firing and prosecution for their part in the scheme. They're being investigated for taking fraudulent unemployment benefits while working for the city.

About 60 more cashed unemployment checks while employed by the District.

Forty-two school bus drivers and attendants were rounded up this week, shipped downtown and given letters of proposed termination for unemployment fraud.

Nearly $800,000 in unemployment benefits have been paid to working city employees since 2009.

The amount of money received fraudulently ranges from a few hundred dollars to more than $20,000.

D.C. officials made clear in a news conference they are focused on punishment for 90 current employees who got thousands in unemployment benefits while working for the city.

Some drivers and attendants say before that news broke some of their colleagues had already started paying back the money.

School bus union president Andrew Washington said the union can help some perhaps, but not others.

"Because if they knew it they're going to have to suffer the consequences,” he said. “I mean that's just the bottom line with it. I mean fraud is fraud."

"I'm going to be meeting with everybody next week," Washington said.

The U.S. Attorney is looking at the cases, saying some may be criminally prosecuted for claiming unemployment for up to a year, when they were actually employed as drivers or attendants.

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