The State of Michigan is investigating whether new employees of the Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) are stealing funds from jobless residents, multiple media outlets report.
The workers are accused of stealing and charging clients to receive their benefits more quickly, WDIV reported. This is happening even as Michigan is among several states experiencing fraudulent claims being submitted, and they temporarily stopped payments.
The agency hired Deloitte to help investigate fraudulent claims, The Center Square reported.
“As the UIA works to improve its systems to enhance customer service, data transparency, payment systems and fraud prevention, we’re glad to have Deloitte on our team,” UIA Director Steve Gray said in a statement.
Over 2.2 million claims have been filed during the COVID-19 shutdown order by Whitmer. Over 2.1 million claims have been processed, but many have not yet been handled.
The allegation is the workers are reportedly charging users to get their benefits sooner as thousands of residents continue to wait for their unemployment payments, Michigan Rising Action said.
Tori Sachs, executive director of Michigan Rising Action took Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to task.
The Whitmer administration’s failure to resolve the ongoing problems with unemployment payments and stop potential employee fraud is hurting Michigan families across our state. The results of the investigation into UIA employee fraud should be transparent and released to the public along with a real plan and timeline to ensure every Michigander who qualifies for unemployment finally receives their payment.
The UIA added hundreds of workers to process the higher volume from the pandemic shutdown, WXYZ reported.
Michigan’s UIA workers are not the only people accused of stealing unemployment benefits.
Maryland is investigating a scheme that stole over $500 million using identity theft to submit false claims, Forbes reported. Officials believe over 47,500 claims were forged. Maine, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Washington have fallen victim to such theft.
The U.S. Secret Service in May said a Nigerian crime-ring was responsible for a large volume of unemployment insurance fraud.
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