DES MOINES (AP) — The nearly 1,600 people who were overpaid a total of nearly $434,000 in unemployment benefits won't have to return the money.

The Iowa Workforce Development Board voted Friday to let the recipients keep the money, which was paid in 2014 as a result of a faulty phone system.

The Des Moines Register reports that state officials said Friday that several of the Iowans were told to keep the money, under the advice of the agency's former director. The current director, Beth Townsend, says the state didn't keep a list of people who tried to return the money, so, theoretically, anyone could argue the state waived its collection rights.

An audit shows the overpayments were part of more than $909,000 the state lost to scams and errors over three years.

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