OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Secret Service is now investigating after hundreds of millions of dollars in unemployment benefits were paid out to a Nigerian scam ring.
As it turns out, officials say there are some Americans involved in the scheme as well.
Officials say international scammers have stolen millions of dollars from federal taxpayers in the form of fake unemployment claims.
The fraud is also slowing down the process for paying out legitimate claims.
Sen. James Lankford tells KFOR there is an arm of the Nigerian fraud group that is based in Washington state.
In some cases, Americans are being used as mules to open up bank accounts. Those accounts are then used to collect benefits for fake unemployment claims.
“Some of these people know what they are doing. Some of the people are just unwitting, they’ll get an email saying, ‘Work from home and here’s a way to make good money working from home.’ All they’re doing is opening bank accounts and transitioning things. They think they’re working for a legitimate company, they’re not. They’re working for an international fraud ring,” said Sen. Lankford.
Oklahoma is one of eight states targeted by the ring.