Stronger Families. Stronger Communities. Stronger Washington

Governor Inslee and Commissioner of the State Employment Security Department, Suzi LeVine, recently disclosed a Nigerian Crime Syndicate scam that robbed Washington State Taxpayers of ‘hundreds of millions’ in unemployment support.

There is a leadership vacuum at the top, beginning with the Governor; and the Democrat Majority party appears complacent to let working families and small businesses suffer. Elected Officials are stewards of taxpayer funds, but that has been forgotten in Olympia.

As your State Representative, my priority is YOU; the taxpayer, the small business owner, and the working families. I will help deliver a much needed political and ideological makeover to Olympia to hold government accountable!

Peter Abbarno, Candidate for State House of Representatives in the 20th Legislative District.

Earlier this spring, as Washington began to pay out enhanced unemployment benefits to tens of thousands of laid-off and furloughed workers, a criminal organization halfway around the world spied an enormous opportunity. The Nigerian fraud ring is dubbed “Scattered Canary” by security researchers.

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Peter Abbarno in front of his law office in downtown Centralia.

Initially, the losses were communicated by the Governor and State of Washington as several million. That amount has more recently been increased to “hundreds of millions” of taxpayer dollars handed over to a Nigerian crime ring in a Washington unemployment scam (Dave Ross Interview with ESD). The exact amount may still take time to determine.

Washington’s unemployment system missed red flags, including payments to out-of-state banks and the use of suspicious email accounts, according to security experts. All of that happened despite a $44 million software upgrade at ESD that was supposed to help detect such fraud. The staff and software did not detect the fraud. More importantly, the extent of the fraud was not communicated to the public.

There is a pattern of poor management from this Governor and his party. We need a change in course to commonsense and pragmatic policies that put people first.

Four years ago, Western State Hospital lost its accreditation and it was months before the Governor and DSHS shared the information with the public. This year, the Governor ordered the release of criminals into our communities that not only re-offended, but the Governor failed to inform the public he was releasing criminals already infected with COVID-19. Now, ‘hundreds of millions’ of taxpayer dollars, meant for economic recovery for working families, were stolen right under the Governor’s nose.

This is our home, we should expect better. As a small business owner, parent, and Centralia City Councilmember, I have the experience to help guide our community and state down a better path.

Peter Abbarno, Candidate for State House of Representatives in the 20th Legislative District.

Support the Campaign to Elect Peter Abbarno

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If you believe you were subject to an unemployment scam, Visit or Call: Claimant Fraud, Phone: 1-866-266-1987 OR Employer Fraud, Phone: 1-866-266-1987.

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