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NEW REPORT: IWD Chided Over Investigation

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A report by the State Auditor is criticizing Iowa Workforce Development for delaying an investigation into an employee who was diverting payments to her own accounts.

The Auditor’s Officer completed the report after IWD worker Linda Pippen admitted to embezzling more than $40,000 in unemployment insurance benefits while on the job in Cedar Rapids. Pippen says she took the money between 2008 and 2009.

She was sentenced to four years in prison after pleading guilty to one count of embezzlement from a program receiving federal funds and one count of aggravated identity theft.

Auditor David Vaudt’s report says the IWD waited too long to investigate, didn’t do a thorough job of investigating, and withheld information.

Current IWD director Teresa Wahlert says she agrees with the findings, “The department is in agreement with the audit findings. Procedures and processes used in the previous administration were not stringent enough to prevent a deceptive practice of fraud.”

Wahlert says there are new procedures in place to protect the unemployment insurance system.