8 Philadelphia police employees accused of pandemic fraud

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FILE – An applicant waits with paperwork at a rental assistance fair July 24, 2021, in Jackson, Miss. Housing officials in multiple states are reporting few fraudulent applications in their rental assistance programs. The federal government has poured billions of dollars into states during the pandemic. For unemployment benefits, states saw massive amounts of fraud as they rushed to get the money approved quickly. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

Eight civilian Philadelphia Police Department employees were indicted on charges of collecting Pandemic Unemployment Assistance they were not entitled to because they remained employed.

Seven of the employees are dispatchers and one is a clerk.

A federal grand jury returned an indictment charging them with theft of government funds, wire fraud and mail fraud.

The accused took advantage of a system that was designed to aid people left unemployed because of the pandemic, prosecutors said.

Each allegedly submitted weekly certifications stating that they were not employed and were ready, willing, and able to work each day, prosecutors said.

According to the indictment, those statements were false because each was employed by the police department. Prosecutors said the employees received assistance funds for multiple weeks while also collecting a salary from the city.

“Pandemic Unemployment Assistance funds are intended to help Americans who are not working or who have experienced dramatically reduced working hours due to the pandemic, not people who are already gainfully employed,” U.S. Attorney Jennifer Arbittier Williams said in a statement.

Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw on Tuesday said she will suspend them for 30 days with the intent to dismiss them at the end of the 30 days upon completion of arrest procedures.

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