SC DEW: Over 2,800 unemployment insurance claims referred to authorities investigating fraud

COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO)– The South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce says they have referred 2,855 unemployment insurance claims to authorities investigating them for fraud. Officials say the investigation will be conducted by state and federal authorities including the United States Department of Justice National Unemployment Insurance Fraud Task Force and the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office, Insurance Fraud Division.

SC DEW Executive Director Dan Ellzey released the following statement regarding these claims.

“The federal programs created to help people through the pandemic have, unfortunately, also been very susceptible to criminals eager to take advantage of these funds and circumvent the law for their own financial gain. Our state has aggressively fought fraud in two ways. 1) Prevention: We have implemented new security and anti-fraud measures throughout this process. We have added staff. We have added software to deter and detect fraud in the unemployment insurance program. We have worked with the Integrity Data Hub and utilized every service that they offer. We implemented ID verification systems and, we cross match claimant data in every manner that is available to us. 2) Investigation, prosecution and collections: We have 68 people on our fraud staff that investigate fraud allegations that come to us by tips and leads, cross matching, etc. We work closely with our federal partners and local and state law enforcement agencies to conduct joint investigations of identity theft cases that are reported.
As stewards of state and federal funding, we are tasked with ensuring the integrity of the unemployment insurance program and have a zero tolerance policy against fraud. We have to continue to fight for the protection of these funds so they may be available to those who are truly deserving of benefits to keep them afloat during their gap from employment,” states Executive Director Ellzey.

If you know someone submitted fraudulent claims, SC DEW asks you to submit a fraud form online.

“We do anticipate cases will move forward and charges will be filed against some of these bad actors. Investigations take time, so it is hard to say when that will happen. If and when charges are filed, we will work to communicate this information,” said Ellzey.

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