Documents reveal potential widespread fraud at Department of Labor

August 5th, 2010 by investigates Categories: Featured, Reports, Updates 31 Responses
Share on Twitter

by Todd Shepherd

Independence Investigates” has obtained internal emails from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) showing that a software control intended to prevent the payment of unemployment insurance to unqualified citizens as well as to illegal aliens was shut off in early 2009.

The emails dictate that former CDLE unemployment insurance director Mike Cullen demanded “Work Order 51662” be given top priority within the department. Completion of the work order would mean various questions asked of someone filing for unemployment regarding citizenship would effectively be ignored by a computer system.

The documents also show that several individuals within the department immediately raised the issue that the work order might be circumventing the law, specifically House Bill 06-1023. HB 1023 was passed in a special session of the legislature in 2006, and mandated that certain government benefits, such as unemployment insurance, be denied to illegal aliens.

In one email, an IT technician says, “This seems to be a super fast slam dunk. Do we need anything in writing from [unemployment insurance director] Mike Cullen as this seems to be a violation of the law (HB-1023)?”

Another email from a different IT technician predicted media fallout, saying, “…this ain’t all so hard to do, BUT we will effectively disabling the legislatures HB-1023 which is now state law. When Channel 4 news finds out, lots of people will be pointing finders [sic] and saying, ‘it wasn’t me.’”

An email from a business analyst attempts to assert a rationale for the work order saying, “The reason: Currently, we have several admins who are doing nothing else but keying in the returned UIB-1 information in order to ensure that people get paid. With our heavy workload, the Business needs to reassign these people to other tasks.” The same email also says that HB 1023 will be enforced again, eventually. However, no specific target date was given for the reinstatement of enforcement of HB 1023.

scan0001-A

The CDLE told “Independence Investigates” that the execution of the work order did not violate HB-1023.  Spokeswoman Cher Haavind said in an email:

The Unemployment Insurance Program accessed the Colorado Department of Motor Vehicle’s database to verify that the randomly selected claimants possessed a valid license or identification number.  Because various circumstances may identify a license or identification number as invalid—such as a suspended or revoked license—and the Colorado Department of Motor Vehicle is not willing to provide additional information on their inquiry screen, unemployment insurance benefit payments were not denied if numbers cannot be validated through the Colorado Department of Motor Vehicle.

There are several reasons the cross match system identification process was not effective in identifying illegal aliens including maiden/married name changes and expired driver’s licenses. It did nothing to address the concerns set forth in HB 06S-1023, but rather delayed benefits to thousands of eligible unemployment insurance recipients.

Haavind went on to say that prior to the passage and implementation of HB-1023, “…the Unemployment Insurance program had existing measures in place to verify legal citizenship.”

State Senator Shawn Mitchell, R-Broomfield, was shown both the email chain, and the response from CDLE. Mitchell said, “This is gravely concerning. These messages show clear intent to evade the law and to overrule any employee concerns. The Department’s explanation sounds like a dodge, like it’s a hassle to follow the law, so they ignored it. This situation demands an audit more powerfully than anything else I’ve seen in state government.  It’s important to hold accountable the people who designed or carried out this illegal policy. Since the effect of the policy was to force approvals, probably of many illegal benefit claims, it’s a reasonable suspicion it came from the top.”

Mr. Cullen was reached by phone, but requested that all comments come from CDLE.  Mr. Cullen resigned from CDLE months after this directive was issued, and now works for On Point Technologies, a software firm that specializes in, among other things, preventing fraud for unemployment insurance.  According to the state’s online spending database, On Point Technologies has had software contracts with the state in at least 2009 and 2010.  (Because the database is a new project, information only dates back to 2009.)

(Notes:  HB-1023 is properly known as HB-06S-1023, the “S” denoting that the bill was passed in a special session of the General Assembly.  Also, in the emails, there are general references to “the business.”  This is an expression used in the CDLE and means the unemployment insurance division.)

  1. Alfredo says:

    Great Work!
    I bet this is just the beginning.

    So the only remaining “untainted” candidate for Governor in 2010 is Tancredo.
    http://www.tancredoforgovernor2010.org

  2. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Rob Port, Rachel Moore. Rachel Moore said: http://ht.ly/2lxKs Leaked emails: CO Dept of Labor ignored HB1023 (2006) to bypass citizenship status on unemployment benefits recipients. [...]

  3. [...] in Uncategorized Corner/NRO The investigative arm of Colorado’s Independence Institute is reporting that officials at the state’s labor agency defied the law by disabling computer software and [...]

  4. Misstrial says:

    Each of these culpable officials should be charged, prosecuted and imprisoned.

  5. Wow! You can not just down the every thing for the benifit of illegals!!! Mexicans have no need to be i the US what so ever.

  6. D Taylor says:

    Read the following closely, as quoted from above:

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
    “various circumstances may identify a license or identification number as invalid—such as a suspended or revoked license—and the Colorado Department of Motor Vehicle is not willing to provide additional information on their inquiry screen, unemployment insurance benefit payments were not denied if numbers cannot be validated through the Colorado Department of Motor Vehicle.

    the cross match system identification process was not effective in identifying illegal aliens including maiden/married name changes and expired driver’s licenses. It did nothing to address the concerns set forth in HB 06S-1023, but rather delayed benefits to thousands of eligible unemployment insurance recipients.

    prior to the passage and implementation of HB-1023, “…the Unemployment Insurance program had existing measures in place to verify legal citizenship.”
    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    On the surface………

    It sounds to me as if unemployment insurance director Mike Cullen was addressing a POS software that…. “delayed benefits to thousands of eligible unemployment insurance recipients”.

    And it sounds to me as if at least two “IT” software peons took it upon themselves to cover their involvement with inadequate software…. and the in-action of the “Colorado Department of Motor Vehicles” ….. and vilify Mr. Cullen with a straw man issue now involving Senator Shawn Mitchell, R-Broomfield….. who should know better.

    I believe this is very poor investigative reporting by Mr. Todd Shepherd….. at the least.

  7. Dave Taylor says:

    Hmmmmm…….

    Along with it’s reporting………. this website is a POS.

  8. Scott says:

    I’m glad this is finally coming out. Lets demand accountability, even if these clowns don’t work for our state anymore. This is a violaion of state laws and fraud.

  9. Vince Emmer says:

    Ah yes, the wonderful state of public finance – impervious to competence.

  10. Scottie238 says:

    I’d say it just warrents futher investigation! IF found true then proceed to jail for those violating the law.

  11. [...] leaders for four years but did nothing to investigate the matter.Documents obtained by the Independence Institute reveal that software used by the Colorado Department of Labor to prevent the payment of [...]

  12. [...] obtained by the Independence Institute reveal that software used by the Colorado Department of Labor to prevent the payment of [...]

  13. Ferd says:

    D Taylor/Dave Taylor – you are a tool (of the statists). Really, the website design is the only real point you can come up with against this? Because the rest of your reasoning is all about the problem, namely that government employees decided to bypass the law. I’m betting they are union employees, which means they are all for illegals. This also means they were doing their union’s bidding in ensuring illegals continue to get money (illegally) from the government.

    I agree with misstrial – investigate and prosecute all involved. Corruption in government needs to be weeded out, and it’s not like there aren’t plenty of bureaucrats to go around when these few are thrown in jail.

  14. S.J.M. says:

    Whether or not the responsible individuals are still with the state is irrelevant; they’re still responsible for their actions during their state tenure.

    Refusal to indict, prosecute and punish those who willfully defraud the state and knowingly violate the law is the very reason such behavior is so rampant, regardless of the specific violation.

    Cullen should be prosecuted and do hard time in prison for knowingly stealing public money. Period.

  15. [...] obtained by the Independence Institute reveal that software used by the Colorado Department of Labor to prevent the payment of [...]

  16. Ryan N. says:

    Was any actual money lost? The article doesn’t say. Violating the law is wrong, but it’s quite possible there was no impact.

  17. Clarence says:

    This report seems riddled with FACT. But it didn’t go far enough. I don’t think Cullen made this decision. Are you kidding?
    Also it touched on a real problem that is in Government management. A portion of these hybrid breeds actually believes they are making business decisions. It makes them feel good about themselves when they circumvent LAW, POLICY and ESTABLISHED PROCEDURE.
    For one to call the Tech’s mentioned peons’…hardly, they seemed to at least understand their corrupt environment and their JOB. It was a good report that didn’t go far enough.
    One of these State Government managers signed off on what some Government middle manager or contractor and a democrat refers to a POS.

  18. [...] investigative arm of Colorado’s Independence Institute is reporting that officials at the state’s labor agency defied the law by disabling computer software and [...]

  19. KLIMAX says:

    Isn’t Colorado a “Sanctuary State ??!! Someone is trying to give illegals more than they have already stolen !! The Border Criminals need to be deported !!!

  20. [...] Todd Shepherd’s article: He found that the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) has stopped the computer program which stops unemployment benefits from being paid to [...]

  21. Neal5x5 says:

    The software was turned off and no timeframe given to turn it on. This begs the following questions be asked: Is the software or other software still off or has it been activated since being turned off? Is the same reason cited, that legitimately elligable individuals would not recieve their funds in a timely manner, still a problem? Who the hell’s job is it to fix this crap and what have they done/are doing about it?

  22. Nate says:

    Great investigation. The whistle blowers should be promoted and the supervisors who tried to cover up the fraud need to be tried, convicted, and sent to Canon City. Do you think Ritter knew of this fraud?

  23. [...] by Todd Shepherd at  Independence Investigates [...]

  24. [...] reveal potential widespread fraud at Department of Labor: Illegals getting unemployment benefits ………“Independence Investigates” has obtained internal emails from the [...]

  25. TopAssistant says:

    The attorney general needs to be asked to prosecute this and if not, why not.

  26. Denise Good says:

    So this is a possible solution to my situation.

    I have been unemployed since 12/09 and have collected 6 months of unemployment insurance. The 13 + months I have been denied because my social security number has been used in different towns and different areas of Colorado. Even after the explanations and the case number I have filed with Littleton Police Dept. I am not receiving benefits. I have lost my home and credit establishment, live day to day for meals and a place to stay. Nothing has been done to help me with this. No medical care is available, food??? and assistance. Stop this nonsense.

  27. [...] on August 17, 2010, 8:10 pm The investigative arm of Colorado’s Independence Institute is reporting that officials at the state’s labor agency defied the law by disabling computer software and [...]

  28. cazinou online says:

    I LOVE THIS BLOG!!!

  29. Do you guys have an RSS feed?