Any large organization is prone to theft, and the larger the sums of money, the greater the temptations to theft. (I'm told by people who ought to know that if the scale of embezzlement in the retail banking sector were generally known, people would be shocked -- the banks keep it quiet so consumers won't freak out.)
The alleged fraud is not complicated, nor is it uncommon in unemployment insurance programs: Workers apply for checks and receive them legitimately for a time but fail to inform authorities when they go back to work.
"Some are people who come in and out of government and never stopped [receiving unemployment checks]. Some may have worked in parts of an agency where for the summer months you don't work," Mallory said. "There are no clear patterns that we can discern. It's just a matter of certifying you aren't receiving income when you are receiving income."
Of course, what allows this sort of petty malfeasance, as well as the more odious crimes, is that DC has a large bureaucracy, but very weak controls. A series of reform mayors has made inroads in this direction, and this latest crackdown is a good sign--but obviously, when City Council members may be among the beneficiaries, it's hard to move as fast as one would like.