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Stolen money at Delaware’s labor department leads to investigation calls

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An open government group has asked the Delaware General Assembly to investigate an undisclosed embezzlement problem at the U.S. Department of Labor’s Unemployment Insurance Division.

John Flaherty, board member of the Delaware Coalition for Open Government (DelCOG), said the investigative request follows a May 6 story from WHYY News about a former Delaware Department of Labor supervisor who withdrew more than $181,000 from the trust fund for has embezzled from state unemployment insurance.

The state did not disclose the embezzlement, despite state law specifying the disclosure of illegal activities in their official reports, Flaherty said.

“The disclosure of all this came about through the article on WHYY radio,” he said. “We felt that the news media should not be the one to expose these types of violations of the public trust.”

The Delaware Department of Labor and the State Auditor’s Office were in the process of issuing statements on the matter Thursday morning.

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According to the May 6 WHYY News story, the state Labor Department “acknowledged that former unemployment insurance administrator Michael Brittingham stole the money last year. Brittingham took his own life in April 2023, shortly after he was told that he was under investigation.”

According to his obituary, Brittingham worked as a tax administrator for the Delaware Department of Labor. He was 37 when he died on April 3, 2023. He lived in the Harrington area.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

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