Head Start employees investigated for fraud
BATON ROUGE - Eighty-one Head Start employees were paid $110,978 in unemployment benefits while employed, according to a city-parish internal audit. Officials say most the over payments were accidental, but some individuals are being investigated for fraud.
The over-payments occurred during a three year period from 2012 to 2014. The audit says 49 employees were overpaid for four weeks or more with two of them receiving payments for more that 30 weeks.
Head Start operates pre-K during the school year. During summer months employees are furloughed and eligible for unemployment benefits. The benefits are supposed to stop once employees return to work.
In June the city-parish held mandatory disciplinary hearings for the employees in question. However, officials were not at liberty to say if any of those employees were fired.
Head Start employees returned to work Monday. City-parish officials will check with the Louisiana Workforce Commission next week to make sure no employees are still receiving benefits.
About one-third of the over-payments have been recovered according to the LWC.