Woman joins lawsuit after being accused of unemployment fraud - WNEM TV 5

Woman joins lawsuit after being accused of unemployment fraud

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)

A Mid-Michigan woman is among thousands of Michigan residents who said they were wrongly accused of fraud while receiving unemployment benefits.

"How dare you do this to us? You know we were already in a bad spot," Gina Luster said.

She is not happy with the people running the state's employment agency.

A mystery illness caused Luster health issues which eventually led to her losing her job.

"My employer didn't want me back with any restrictions and one of the restrictions was that I had to have a walking cane because my bones, I felt like I was 100-years-old," Luster said.

She said her health started fading as soon as the city switched over to the Flint River water.

Luster said she began to receive unemployment benefits for the first time in her life, but shortly after the state started sending her letters saying she was a fraud. The letters demanded Luster return all of the money with interest. That's when she decided to fight back.

"I didn't want a cash day from this. I just want the $303 every two weeks that I worked for all my life. I just want that. And I don't ever want to be harassed or called a criminal for filing for unemployment," Luster said.

Senator James Ananich said this is unacceptable and he is advocating for change. He said Luster is not the only one who was accused of unemployment fraud.

"This is ridiculous. This is no fault of the person who was applying for their benefits. This was 100 percent the fault of the state. So they need to make sure that they take care of this issue," Ananich said.

He said the issue is now the focus of a class action lawsuit.

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