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COVID-19-Related Unemployment Benefits Recovered Through Asset Forfeiture

  • Washington AG Bob Ferguson obtained a court ruling ordering TD Bank to transfer funds stolen from the Washington Employment Security Department back to the state, marking the first instance in which the state’s asset forfeiture authority was used to recover COVID-19-related funds.
  • According to the AG’s office, fraud rings stole billions of dollars in COVID-19-related unemployment benefits funds from at least 11 states, including Washington. After an investigation searching for bank accounts from which such funds were not yet withdrawn, the AG’s office moved to exercise the state’s asset forfeiture powers to recover the funds from the banks in which they were deposited, starting with TD Bank. TD Bank did not oppose the AG’s motion.
  • Under the terms of King County Superior Court Judge Bender’s order, TD Bank will transfer $495,000 from 120 accounts to the state.