FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Amy Susan 573-751-1518
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 09, 2011
State continues to crack down on unemployment fraud
Cross-match ousts offender off unemployment
Jefferson City, Mo— Less than a month after implementing a new cross-matching process with the Department of Corrections, the Missouri Department of Labor has already prevented one inmate from trying to obtain unemployment benefits and caught 11 others who have tried in the past. The Department of Labor began cross-matching its list of claimants receiving unemployment benefits to the state inmate list in mid-November of this year after implementing a new computer system capable of querying the complex information.
“People in prison are not eligible to collect unemployment benefits. Period,” said Department of Labor Director Larry Rebman. “This new initiative illustrates that by joining forces with other agencies, we can make it harder for those who try to cheat the system.”
“The Department of Corrections is pleased to be working with the Department of Labor on this important project. We are committed to rehabilitating individuals and this cannot be completed if they continue to violate the laws while in prison,” says Department of Corrections Director George Lombardi.
The Department of Labor also recently form a Fraud Taskforce, comprised of veteran staff who have years of experience in stopping fraudulent activity. The Department and its taskforce continue to cross-check benefit records with the National Directory of New Hires as well as conduct a verification check with the databases of the Social Security Administration and the Missouri Department of Revenue’s Drivers License system.
So far in 2011, the Department has caught more than 14,800 acts of fraud, and recovered more than $1.5 million in penalties and more than $18.9 million in restitution. In addition, the Department has a mechanism in place to intercept personal income state tax refunds and lottery winnings to pay back improper payments and penalties.
“A report by the Wall Street Journal found that Missouri’s improper payment rate was much lower than the majority of other states,” says Rebman. “We will continue to improve our processes and protect taxpayer dollars.”
For more information on unemployment or to report unemployment fraud, visit www.labor.mo.gov/DES/report_fraud.asp.
421 East Dunklin Street, P.O. Box 504, Jefferson City, MO 65102-0504
Phone: 573-751-7500 Fax: 573-751-6552