The state Department of Justice says the number of Unemployment Insurance fraud cases it handled increased six-fold in the past year.
The DOJ said Tuesday that the number of cases referred to the agency for prosecution climbed from just six in 2014 to 36 in 2015. The increase comes as a result of expanded efforts in the state to prosecute potential fraud. In addition to those handled by the state, another 73 UI fraud cases were referred to local district attorneys.
Most of the cases involve individuals who were no longer eligible for benefits, but continued to collect them by not reporting their income. The DOJ cited one individual who collected more than $42,000 in benefits over a three year period by only reporting wages of about $2,300. The individual actually earned more than $63,000 during that time frame.
In a statement, Attorney General Brad Schimel called it “shameful” to see the safety net being ripped off by fraudulent claims. “Those who take advantage of the system and steal our hard-earned tax dollars should be held accountable and prosecuted for their misconduct,” he said.
Schimel also praised the Department of Workforce Development for hiring additional investigators to seek out potential fraud.