New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli has released the results of an audit of unemployment payments during COVID. The findings report around 14% of the $76.3 billion of payments made between January 2020 and March of 2022 were to scam artists and fraudsters.

The high volume of claims during the pandemic combined with the New York Department of Labor’s outdated unemployment system made the payment system easy to scam and abuse. The audit estimates the total cost of improper payments at $11 billion, but the report admits that’s likely lower than the true number.

Warnings Ignored

Former President Bill Clinton Attends Attends Get Out The Vote Rally For Gov. Hochul And NY Democrats
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The State Comptroller’s Office says the NY Department of Labor had been warned about the system’s flaws and blind spots. The DOL is now working to update the system with the knowledge they’ve gained from the audit to prevent any more scenarios like this.

RELATED: How The Capital Region Was Hochul's Key To Victory

The audit reports that some of the fraud possibly came from outside of the US. Officials report there is little chance that the majority of that money will ever be recovered or reimbursed.

Response To The Audit

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There has been scrutiny from New York State Republicans around the timing of the release. The audit’s finding were released on Tuesday, November 15 – just one week after Election Day. Given the close results of the gubernatorial race between incumbent Kathy Hochul and Republican challenger Lee Zeldin, some speculate if the Democratic DiNapoli held the results until after ballots had been cast.

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New York employers are also infuriated by the news. Upstate United’s Executive Director, Justin Wilcox, blasted the “total disregard” for the legitimately unemployed and local businesses. Wilcox said Governor Hochul should “fully refund the $159 million that employers were forced to pay through an interest assessment surcharge in September.”

These Were The Top 8 Issues For New York Voters For The 2022 Elections

This Siena College Research Institute poll shows what issues New York voters were most concerned with for the 2022 midterms. Data was collected between September 16-25, 2022 via phone from 655 likely New York State voters.

A majority 53% of New Yorkers are pessimistic about where the country is headed, while 47% think the state's future is in trouble. Environmental issues just edged out of the top 8, with 55% of those polled in favor of New York passing the proposed $4.2 billion environmental bond act.

8 of TripAdvisor’s Top 20 Museums in New York State Are In Upstate

Upstate contributes 40% of TripAdvisor's list. New York City takes two in the top three. The National 9/11 Memorial and Museum, which is truly one of the most emotional and moving memorials in the world, is number one with a 4.5 out of a staggering 95,990 reviews. Number three is The Metropolitan Museum of Art in Central Park.

Western New York has the number two spot with The Strong National Museum of Play in Rochester. While Upstate doesn’t crack the top three, the region takes the majority of the rest of the list. How many of these must-visit places have you been to?