Tuesday, September 3, 2013 at 5:10 PM
The state's department of Job and Family Services says it's added 13 federally funded fraud investigator in the past few years.
Ohio has been stepping up efforts to sniff out and prosecute unemployment fraud.
The state’s department of Job and Family Services says it’s added 13 federally funded fraud investigator in the past few years, bringing the total to 67.
Of billions of dollars in benefits paid out each year to Ohioans, about 3 percent are estimated to be collected fraudulently. Last year the state referred 195 cases for prosecution.
It’s not a huge problem says Ben Johnson, a spokesman for ODJFS.
“There were some fraud cases where the dollar amount was so low that we decided not to refer for prosecution and simply to work on collection ourselves” Johnson said. “So that 195 is not the total number but I think that’s a good example of how small the most egregious cases are when compared to the entire system.”
But Johnson says his department takes fraud seriously.
Investigators are using new methods of data mining, and uncovering mostly people continuing to collect benefits after they’ve returned to work. Harder to detect are employees working off the books, paying no taxes and creating no record. It’s estimated that group comprises 2/3 of cases of fraud.
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