Prisoners Collect Unemployment Checks

Unemployment fraud and errors cost taxpayers billions of dollars.
2:29 | 03/14/12

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Transcript for Prisoners Collect Unemployment Checks
World news investigation into the waste of taxpayer dollars how can it be that a prisoner serving a life sentence is collecting unemployment checks. Tonight ABC's mark Greenblatt on the trail of incompetence and fraud. Meet LA gang member Anthony that chopper Garcia despite getting 65 -- for murder he continued to collect. 16100 bucks a month in unemployment. The chopper allegedly -- his cronies cashed the checks the total -- 20000. Dollars they are now awaiting trial. The state of Florida was no better sending Robin Ballard Terkel unemployment checks last June while she sat behind bars. When she got out she used the money for Freedom Party. And in Missouri a businessman faces charges for faking his unemployment and using the money on hotels in Costa Rica and meals -- looters. And it's not just fraud the feds say much of the problem is due to lax oversight and simple error by state agencies. Such as when they let people continue to collect after they find a job. How big is the problem. Well it's a big it's a big cost United States secretary of labor Hilda -- -- sat down one on one with ABC news. And says last year American states doled out thirteen point seven billion dollars to people who had not properly qualified. States like Colorado which the Department of Labor says improperly paid more than 300 million dollars over three years. Louisiana more than 500 million. And Indiana one point seven billion. Indiana according to the US Department of Labor seems to have a real problem -- Doling out a lot of money in what they call. Improper payments by -- just pop attack because he says in Indiana much of the problem is people failing to register with the state jobs board before getting money. I don't think these can be characterized. Is improper payments but the federal government stands pat saying those safeguards prevent wrongful payments. We're holding them accountable to that and -- saying that. You're not closing the gap when it comes to improper payments. The idea making it that much harder for people like the chopper and others to take your money right to the bank. So mark what's the Labor Department going to do about it. And I am one idea is to simply hand over the names of everybody who's actually received an improper payment to the IRS and let the IRS confiscate. Tax refunds it's an idea that's gaining steam and already working in several states. And as a result of this story Diane secretary so -- telling me that she's gonna make it a new top priority of -- to go out to go -- and have the rest of the states get on board. Karen -- thank you very much mark.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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