More than a dozen become victim of unemployment fraud - WNEM TV 5

More than a dozen become victim of unemployment fraud

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More than a dozen Mid-Michigan residents are reportedly victims of a scam that uses their identity to collect unemployment benefits.

Investigators said there have been approximately 16 fraud complaints in Tuscola County since October of 2016 where residents have been called by the State of Michigan.

They are being told unemployment benefits are being filed using their name.

The State of Michigan has been requiring victims to contact law enforcement to report the fraud, as well as having them complete an Affidavit of Identity Theft form.

The form requires them to certify that they did not file for benefits or receive any funds.

Last month, a state official who's conducting a wide-ranging review of Michigan's embattled unemployment benefits office is apologizing for the fiasco that led at least 20,000 people to be falsely accused of fraud.

Talent Investment Agency Director Wanda Stokes adds that lawmakers should consider reducing the country's highest financial penalties for unemployment fraud.

She told The Associated Press that people affected are angry and she is, too. She says their plight "shouldn't have happened."

Stokes, who took charge of the umbrella agency that oversees the unemployment office in July, says Republican Gov. Rick Snyder appointed her to "assess the situation and then fix it." The office's director was recently reassigned.

The state is halting all collection activities against people who were subject to fraud determinations over a nearly two-year period.

Copyright 2017 WNEM (Meredith Corporation) / The Associated Press. All rights reserved. 

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