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V.I. Department of Labor Bounces Checks To Unemployment Insurance Recipients This Week

CHARLOTTE AMALIE — Local residents who received an NSF Unemployment Insurance check from the Virgin Islands Department of Labor this week are being asked to redeposit those checks into their bank accounts, the Department said.

VIDOL said a “timing issue” affecting all UI recipients who don’t bank with Popular Bank left the Department with egg on its face this week because the Virgin Islands government checks bounced.

“The V.I. Department of Labor (VIDOL) has met with bank representatives to further ensure that payments made to unemployment recipients are being honored,” the department said on its website Thursday. “There were reports of a timing issue, with the settlement of the draw made by VIDOL and the transmission of funds to the bank, that affected the clearing process.”

Some of the checks for people unemployed because of COVID-19 are backed by federal funds.

“Some checks deposited from banks other than Banco Popular may have incurred some issues,” VIDOL said. “Bank representatives advise the Department that individuals who are affected should retain and redeposit those checks.”

People throughout the territory complained on social media that their unemployment checks were labeled “Not Sufficient Funds” after depositing them in their banks this week.

Labor Commissioner Gary Molloy acknowledged this week in a published report that his staff at VIDOL is “tired” and “overworked.” Molloy made no official comment on the bounced checks.

Meanwhile, everyone who wrote about this matter on social media was just plain “hot” and “upset.”

“I have been in touch with the U.S. Department of Labor who were unaware of the local departments actions,” Barbara Knight said on Facebook today. “They directed me to the U.S. Department of Justice who stated that since this involves PUA Cares Act Federal Funding it is considered a Federal criminal act. Due to the fact that the checks are being mailed it is also breaking federal postal service laws.”

“They now have me connected to the local FBI office who was also in shock and had no idea this was going on in the Territory and to make matters worse we cannot enter the Labor Department offices as doors are locked, they are not answering their phones and the Governor’s whereabouts are unknown to the citizens of the USVI. I implore everyone who has NOT received their PUA funds as well as those with bounced checks to call the local office and state your claim. 340-777-3363. The more of us calling, the greater the momentum and those who are to be held accountable will. On Monday I will list who to contact as the US Postal Service Fraud Division will be assigning an agency task force to look at this as Mail Fraud. If you have received a check that could not clear or you have filed for Unemployment that includes Pandemic Cares Act Monies PLEASE contact the FBI Monday Morning and state your case.”

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