Scammers steal millions of taxpayer dollars in fraudulent unemployment claims
RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Unemployment fraud is an ongoing and growing issue for Virginia, especially since the start of the pandemic. However, Virginia’s top law enforcement agency is stepping in to take on unemployment insurance fraud.
In an investigative report by NBC4, experts said more than $100 million dollars of taxpayer money was paid out to fraudsters since the start of the pandemic.
That number is significantly higher when looking across the country as more than $87 billion was likely to to “improper payment” with fraud being a significant portion of that during the pandemic.
To stop this, Virginia’s Economic Commission and the Attorney General’s office are teaming up to handle unemployment claims filed during the pandemic. Specifically, they will target those that are unpaid and pending.
The VEC said they have seen a 400% increase in unemployment insurance fraud in the past 24 months.
Together with the Attorney General’s office they will work through the massive backlog of claims and determine which ones are fraudulent. Already, officials said they have brought the number down from 25,000 claims to below 9,000.
A spokesperson for the VEC said they are looking forward to this working relationship and hope it will deter any more people from filing fraudulent claims.
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