Outside Audits Demanded of National Employment Security Candidate

Claims of “Nigerian Fraud” Questioned as Cause of Record Losses

Part Two of Five – By The Gold Bar Reporter

Former Washington State Employment Security Commissioner LeVine (R) is Responsible For the Largest Loss from Fraud in her State’s History. She is Alleged to Have Actively Engaged in a Coverup of Massive Internal Fraud and Negligence.

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Seattle, Washington State Feb. 12, 2021. When Sage Wilson of Working Washington heard former State Employment Security (ESD) Department Commissioner LeVine – and current National Employment Security appointee – quote a $650 million dollar loss from ‘Nigerian’ fraud while claiming not to know how many claims the losses related to, the red flags went up.

“How can anyone give a loss figure without knowing the number of claims involved? Something’s really wrong here,” he said. Other state’s employment security departments that have released dollar figures from fraud, in fact, have also released the number of associated false claims. “How can you know one without the other?” asked a prominent employment lawyer. “Isn’t it just simple math?”

The highly regarded Ninth Circuit public interest attorney John Scannell has his own equation: “If former Commissioner LeVine had no idea what numbers were associated with the losses, how on earth did she immediately conclude that it was ‘Nigerian Fraud’?” he said. “Add that fact to LeVine’s obstruction of the Washington State Auditor’s staff. Doesn’t that equal probable cause of internal fraud?” he added.

Like the number of unresolved unemployment claims, the chorus of voices that had called for Ms. LeVine’s resignation had been escalating at the same rate as the current questions of her qualifications being asked regarding her pending federal appointment. “We’re talking about a person who is a patronage appointment with absolutely zero qualifications, and who has demonstrated total incompetence. The people who are some of our most vulnerable in Washington state have paid a high price for obvious political patronage – should the entire nation?” said Mr. Scannell.

“It’s just inconceivable that a demonstrably incompetent employment security director in history, who lied to state auditors, who is the sole person responsible for killing the new software that could have prevented the fraud just months before COVID-19,” said an ESD staffer.

Ms. LeVine’s background includes a position in a luxury travel subsidiary of a software business and  fundraising for the Democratic party. With no experience she was given a foreign position in the State Department by the Obama Administration. After her $17,500 donation to Washington Governor Inslee, she was then appointed by him as Commissioner of Employment Security.

“This is the worst conceivable caricature of a patronage appointment. We’re talking about someone whose resume is absent any relevant government experience whatsoever, and a person who is completely disconnected from the reality of the unemployed,” said Mr. Scannell. “If someone really deems it necessary to give someone a patronage appointment, why hand a job caring for the unemployed to an unqualified multi-multi-millionaire who has demonstrated contempt for the unemployed?”

Ms. LeVine may in fact be less than directly impacted by the suffering caused by her mismanagement. With her husband Eric, Ms. LeVine lives in a $3.5 million-dollar 7,200 sq. ft. Seattle mansion. They own a multimillion-dollar software company that tracks wine collections for the world’s wealthiest people. The State of Washington paid her substantially over $200,000 including benefits and allowances.

Meanwhile, Ms. LeVine’s disconnection from the pain and suffering caused by her historic mismanagement appears to have coincided with what is being calling “an utterly sadistic negligence of her responsibility to have cared for the unemployed,” according to a prominent employment law attorney. “Ms. LeVine cynically used several of the same fraudulent tactics to deny claims that she used to obstruct audits,” she said.

According to the employment law attorney, the tactics deployed against claimants and auditors alike include feigning confusion, shuffling people between ESD employees, refusing to release information, destroying documents, and simply not responding to inquiries. “Federal crimes have been committed here. Why are there no federal charges? These are criminal acts.” said the attorney who has shared notes with colleagues. “Where is the federal investigation?”

“The conclusion that we’ve all come to is, if it was really ‘Nigerian fraud’ as Ms. LeVine has claimed in Washington state, why did she obstruct the audits?” said the employment law attorney. “Why aren’t all the records being posted online after an outside GAAP equivalent audit? Isn’t this a lot of the public’s hard-earned money? What business could possibly run without accounting for where the money is going?” she said.

Meanwhile, for her part, with her only accomplishments in government being the greatest loss to fraud in the history of Washington State, insiders express incredulity of her current pending appointment, “this is utterly the worst conceivable candidate for the person responsible for some of our nation’s most vulnerable, the unemployed. It is inconceivable to even consider this person for the appointment,” stated attorney Mr. Scannell.

Ms. LeVine, who contrary to federal law accepted $9000 worth of gifted luxury wine tasting functions in Luxembourg while working in her political patronage appointed State Department job in Switzerland and living in a government provided $25 million dollar mansion, asked the unemployed and the taxpayers of Washington State to trust her. Now she asks the nation.

When asked exactly how much money had been taken from the unemployed of the State of Washington, and exactly how it happened, her response was, “trust me, I want to know. I asked every single day,” although she had direct and unlimited access to all accounting and transaction information.

Ms. LeVine’s business philosophy may be of little consolation to Washington’s unemployed and taxpayers: “fail fast, and fail cheaply,” said Ms. LeVine. The “North star” for her personal moral compass, she says, is the Jewish expression “tikkun olam” which means “repair the world.”

“Perhaps Ms. LeVine could repair an important part of the world by assuming responsibility for the results of a comprehensive outside audit of the mess she left in Washington State,” said attorney Mr. Scannell. “The best thing she could do for all of us is to decline the patronage appointment and not doing any more damage.”


National Employment Security Appointee

Suzan LeVine Retaliated Against Claimants, Whistleblowers claim

Washington State ESD Commissioner LeVine is Responsible for the Largest State Loss from Fraud in U.S. History

Seattle, Washington State Jan. 5, 2021. When 21-year-old ‘Sonya L.’ applied for unemployment benefits in Washington State, she filled out every form and complied with every law. Nothing happened for months. And months. And months.

While employment security offices (ESD) across the country are having challenges ranging from fraud to backlogs, Washington State has stood out among all others for several reasons, according to claimants, lawyers, and government insiders.

At the center of the dysfunction, they say, was Suzan LeVine, a state political appointee who is now nominated to be responsible for the nation’s entire employment security system following a $400,000 donation to the Biden campaign. Sonya’s L.’s Washington state experience, however, may cause the U.S. Senate to take a closer look before confirming LeVine.

LeVine’s critics responded to political appointment by highlighting problems at the ESD under her leadership, in which Nigerians create a fraud scheme that stole $600 million in unemployment funds, and months of delays in unemployment payments to eligible claimants during the pandemic.

In contrast to Sonya L’s experience with unemployment benefits, career criminal Austin Schwahn, whose street alias is “Austin ‘Rockstrom,” filed false claims while using drugs. He promptly received a check in full from Ms. LeVine’s office. Although a written fraud claim was officially filed by a highly credible witness months before, the convicted heroin dealer continued to receive unemployment benefits from Washington State Employment Security Commissioner Suzan LeVine’s office.

Meanwhile, over a period of six months, Sonya L. made dozens of calls to the Employment Security Department (ESD), spent over 20 hours on hold and sent several emails to the State for her unemployment claims. She finally began receiving a weekly check. But while her past due claims had been approved – which would have been enough to pay for a place to live – they failed to come through.

Finally, after continuous efforts produced no results, the former journalism student reached out to friends in the media. They gave her the personal email address of then ESD Commissioner Suzan LeVine. After sending an email to former Commissioner LeVine, it got a reaction, but not the one she expected. “Rather than helping resolve the claim,” Sonya L. said, “former Commissioner LeVine immediately retaliated against me.”

Within hours of reaching out to the former Commissioner, in fact, Sonya L. received a response from ‘Agent #644.’ “At first I was really encouraged to have received such a fast reply after so much time and effort to resolve the claim,” she said. “I guess I shouldn’t have had so much faith after all that’s happened, and everything that’s been covered in the media.”

A lot has, indeed, been covered in the media. Former Commissioner LeVine had become the national symbol of government dysfunction. Articles in the local, regional, and national press referred to Ms. LeVine as being solely responsible for allowing the greatest single social services fraud in the history of her state to occur as a result of her negligence. LeVine then, according to Washington State’s Auditor, concealed the losses.

Regardless of the press coverage, when ‘Agent #644’ again asked for the same information that Sonya L. had previously provided, she wasn’t initially concerned. “At first I thought, ‘well, since they’re getting back to me so quickly, at least they’re trying to take care of this.’ It was really naïve of me. Later it seemed clear that the delays are a calculated process by the State to illegally deny claims.”

When Sonya L. reached out to friends in the press who had previously covered government stories, her feelings were confirmed – she learned of a pattern of practices the State employs to deny benefits claims. “It’s a four-part process,” one journalist explained to her, “The first step is simply ignoring claimants. If people are persistent, the second step is ‘case shuffling,’ it’s where the case is moved from agent to agent to wear you down.”

That was exactly what Sonya L. experienced. “After again giving all the required information to agent #644, I then received a message from ‘Lisa C.,’ who asked for documents that aren’t even required by law,” stated Sonya L. “This is exactly what insiders said would be the third step.” Before she even had a chance to respond to ‘Lisa C.,’ the case was ‘shuffled’ again. This time to a ‘Case Investigator.’

“This is the fourth step in the process of denying valid claims,” her journalist friend told her. “Taking the offensive. Starting a pretext ‘investigation’ when the claim is perfectly valid. Basically, it’s an intimidation tactic.” Joseph Nessinger, referring to himself as a ‘Case Investigator,’ as Sonya’s journalists friends predicted, sent an email to Sonya L. requesting a call. Joseph Nessinger is, in fact, a private investigator who is alleged to be fraudulently licensed as a result of his unreported prior conviction by the IRS for unpaid taxes.

In response to private investigator Nessinger’s emails, which clearly and falsely implied he was a state employee, on the advice of her journalist friends Sonya L. began looking for legal counsel. She sent an email to Nessinger asking for an extension of Lisa C.’s three-day deadline asking for documents not required by law. She explained that she needed time to find an attorney. Sonya L. also cited the law that doesn’t require her to provide the documents they demanded.

Lisa C. responded by offering a two-day extension to Sonya L., but ignored her request for a written response – required under the law – as to why her benefits were illegally suspended pending the conclusion of an ‘investigation,’ why there is an ‘investigation’ when she complied with all  requirements, and why she is being asked for documents that are not stipulated by law.

Meanwhile, throughout the greatest crisis and need for unemployment security in State history, Ms. LaVine, “earned substantially more than $200,000 a year in salary, benefits, and expense accounts, was taking vacations, and was often absent from the office,” according to insiders. There have been countless public demands by the press and politicians for her resignation. Multiple law firms have started class action suits.

“I just keep thinking, ‘If this could happen to me, I can’t imagine the amount of real-world pain and suffering that this mess at the State’s Unemployment office is causing to single mothers in rural areas, children who are going hungry, the elderly and people with illnesses,’” said Sonya L.. “It’s hard to imagine how much suffering could have been relieved by the money that was allowed to be stolen.”

“Let’s be clear about this,” said an employment law attorney who asked not to be named, “People need to figure out another approach to deal with Employment Security management,” he said. “These are illegal acts. People need to start filing public records requests and federal criminal complaints under USC 1983 civil rights violations against senior ESD staff . Something has got to change.”

Several hundred thousand unemployed Washingtonians would likely agree. Victims are now proposing public rallies – like the rallies being held to advocate for the defunding of police departments. “The management of ESD needs to be held personally accountable,” said another employment law attorney.

“One would think that there are many people immediately effected by the illegal withholding of their money. I think a strategically located rally would have a big impact. Like WTO.” Clearly, something has got to change. Perhaps if it’s likely to change anywhere, it’s likely to change in Seattle.

It is likely that Austin “Rockstrom” was hoping things wouldn’t change – in addition to nearly $10,000 in unemployment benefits, he received a $2,000 bonus payment from Ms. LeVine’s former office that was promptly spent on street drugs, courtesy of you, the Washington State taxpayer. The people of the state have financed both his ‘drug store’ and his heroin addiction.

Mr. “Rockstrom,” a convicted career criminal, has never even looked for a job once in his life, according to the official sworn fraud complaint filed with Ms. LeVine’s former office. The complaint regarding Mr. “Rockstrom” that was filed several months ago was only acted on recently after several follow up complaints with ESD.

Unable to pay her rent, Sonya L., however, was evicted and became homeless for the first time in her life. Mr. Rockstrom, his ‘business’ boosted by a windfall of taxpayer money, is now doing better than ever. Although she notified ESD in writing that she had been employed for a two week period to correct her original unemployment claim, Ms. LeVine’s office filed fraud charges against ‘Sonya L.’

The Senate will now decide if the entire nation’s unemployed, in the worst unemployment environment since the great depression, will have to rely on Ms. LeVine for their survival.

Just as Donald Trump appointed Mitch McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao, to an office she was not qualified for, Joe Biden appears to be taken a punt from Trump’s playbook by hiring political infiltrators like Elaine Chao whose simply contributed money in exchange for a political appointment.

The Washington State Auditor’s Office confirmed that there were six whistleblower complaints filed by state employees who were threatened by Suzan Levine. Very disappointed in President Biden, who one time said ” the most patriotic thing an American can do is fight corruption.”

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