The U.S. Department of Labor has asked Ohio to help lead a nationwide anti-fraud initiative.
The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services will oversee a new Unemployment Insurance Integrity Center of Excellence, joining Colorado, South Carolina, New Jersey and Washington in the fight against unemployment fraud.
"Over the past two years, ODJFS has greatly improved our efforts to combat fraud in our unemployment system, and we also made it easier for Ohioans to report suspected fraud," said ODJFS Director Michael B. Colbert. He continued, "I am honored that we were invited to sit on this national committee and excited to work with colleagues from around the nation to fight fraud and preserve benefits for those who truly need them."
The state will use the UIICE to develop technology and implement training programs to improve payment accuracy, reduce improper payments, and share information with other workforce agencies to combat and prevent unemployment fraud.
About 435,000 Ohio residents received nearly $2.3 billion in state and federal unemployment aid in 2012. Theft of government funds, including wire fraud, carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison and fines up to $250,000.
Are penalties for unemployment fraud too tough, or not tough enough? Let us know what you think on our