La.: Pay back Katrina unemployment aid

BATON ROUGE, La. - Louisiana wants thousands of state and local government workers to send back $10 million in unemployment pay they received while still collecting regular pay after Hurricane Katrina.

A state audit found lax control by the state
Department of Labor was the main reason the 5,439 ineligible workers were able to collect up to $258 a week, Legislative Auditor Steve Theriot said.

Administrative workers with the City of New Orleans received the most money with 2,233 wrongfully collecting $4.3 million. There were 1,638 state workers, many with the state Department of Health and Hospitals, who got $2.7 million.

The money was a small portion of the overall $560 million the department pay out in unemployment benefits to public and private workers in the four months after Katrina.