The Study of Fraud

Unemployment insurance form on a table.

In Virginia, the State Employment Commission has confirmed that they have erroneously paid out $1.6 billion in unemployment claims that were filed with stolen identities. This is after investigating more than 330,000 cases of unemployment claims that were deemed potentially fraudulent. Potentially, there are many more fraudulent claims that haven’t been found yet. The VEC faces a backlog of nearly 95,000 appeals in unemployment insurance cases, both by the people who have lost their jobs and employers who say benefits are unwarranted in some cases.

The problem with identity theft is that it victimizes the legitimate claimants, who have had to endure delays and technical glitches in proving their identities to collect benefits. Many have been waiting for over three months for not only answers, but benefits.

The good news is the General Assembly has tabled two bills filed by Gov. Glenn Youngkin who hopes to cut in half the time that claimants and employers have to appeal VEC decisions about eligibility for benefit. The bad news is unemployment fraud goes on. Because for now Virginia is going to study the problem. The General Assembly is sending the issue to the Commission on Unemployment Compensation, a legislative advisory panel, to study the stolen identity and unemployment benefit fraud problem. Money is on that study going a long time. If they probe too far, they may find out that the real fraud is too much studying and not enough action.

Good job by the Virginia Employment Commission for this investigation.

Today’s Fraud Of The Day is based on “VEC confirms loss of $1.6 billion in identity theft” published by Richmond Times-Dispatch on January 30, 2023

After investigating more than 330,000 cases of potential fraud in payment of unemployment claims, the Virginia Employment Commission has confirmed that it has paid out $1.6 billion to people who used someone else’s identity to gain public benefits.

Virginia Employment Commissioner Carrie Roth had told legislators in August that potential fraud claims could reach that level, but she said Monday that the beleaguered agency had already paid out that amount in cases of identity theft under then-Gov. Ralph Northam, while blocking $1 billion in additional benefits to people using false identities. The state has worked to separate true and false claims in a flood of requests for unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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