Delaware Hides Embezzlement Plot For Over A Year

June 4, 2024   |   Tags:
Delaware Hides Embezzlement Plot For Over A Year

Authored by Adam Andrzejewski via RealClearWire,

Topline: A Delaware employee stole $181,000 from the state’s Department of Labor early last year, but the public didn’t find out until this April. The truth was only revealed after the WHYY News public radio station contacted the Delaware Department of Labor following a tip.

Key facts: Unemployment insurance administrator Michael Brittingham allegedly stole the money from the Delaware Unemployment Compensation Fund, according to WHYY.

The State of Delaware hired Brittingham in February 2019. That summer, he was sentenced to two years in prison for stealing almost $43,000 from his homeowner’s association by writing checks to a company he owned, NEWAGE Management LLC, the news outlet reported.

Instead of being fired by the state, Brittingham had his jail time turned into probation and even earned multiple job promotions while still serving his sentence. The state Department of Labor bizarrely blamed it on the fact that employees are expected to “self-report” criminal convictions in a statement to WHYY News.

Brittingham’s salary doubled from $35,000 to $70,000 in that time span, according to records at OpenTheBooks.com.

Brittingham then allegedly pulled the same check-writing scheme on a much larger scale. In January 2023, he instructed his staff to issue two tax refunds to NEWAGE Management LLC: one for $86,827 and another for $94,357

He was caught by his colleagues once they realized the business’s address matched the one listed on Brittingham’s 2019 arrest warrant.

Brittingham took his own life in April 2023 shortly after an investigation was opened.

Background: The theft is just one part of larger issues with Delaware’s Department of Labor. Its $390 million unemployment fund was deemed to be “unauditable” in a state report issued this year.

Independent auditors took the “unprecedented” step of issuing a “disclaimer of opinion” on the unemployment insurance fund, meaning its accounting practices are so poor that they could not determine whether its financial statements are accurate.

But the auditors’ report did not mention the theft. Even now, the state refuses to tell WHYY News whether the investigation has been closed.

Critical quote: I’m not sure how or why they tried to keep it quiet other than they don’t want to bring attention to the fact that everything is really screwed up,” Laura Henderson, a tax collection manager at the state’s Unemployment Insurance Office, told WHYY News.

“We would love for there to be transparency. For us to just put it out in the open like, ‘Hey, we’re drowning and let’s come up with a plan here.’”

 The #WasteOfTheDay is brought to you by the forensic auditors at OpenTheBooks.com

Tyler Durden Tue, 06/04/2024 - 21:10


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