SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – A federal control board that oversees Puerto Rico’s finances announced Wednesday that it has contacted federal and local law enforcement agencies after discovering the island’s Department of Education paid more than $84 million to people who no longer work there.
The payments were made from 2007 to 2020, with the department recovering only 15% of that money so far, said Natalie Jaresko, the board’s executive director. She noted the agency only recently implemented an electronic attendance system even though it had invested in one more than a decade ago, adding that she didn’t know what amount of funds might have been erroneously distributed.
Jaresko asked that all those who were paid even though they no longer worked for the agency voluntarily return the money, adding that it’s “very possible” people collected the checks of workers who died. An estimated 17,500 former employees overall received checks,