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TWC recovers millions in unemployment fraud

Special to The Dallas Examiner | 6/30/2014, 12:12 p.m.
Chairman Andres Alcantar, Texas Workforce Commission

Special to The Dallas Examiner

AUSTIN – Each year, the Texas Workforce Commission investigates cases in which unemployment insurance benefits are obtained through fraud or deception and refers them to local district attorney offices.

Last week, the agency reported that it has recovered $3.7 million in fraudulently obtained benefits issued in 2013.

Unemployment insurance fraud is considered to be: providing false information, as well as failing to report all work and earnings when filing claim certifications for benefits.

The funds recovered will be returned to the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund from which TWC pays UI benefits to those who lose their jobs through no fault of their own.

In addition to restitution orders, individuals who commit UI fraud can be ordered to pay fines, perform hours of community service, and some serve jail time. TWC has published recent criminal dispositions at http://www.texasworkforce.org.

Ten Dallas County individuals were prosecuted for state UI fraud in 2013 and were ordered to pay a total of $80,483 in restitution.

“The Texas Workforce Commission is steadfast in its efforts to prevent and prosecute UI fraud,” said TWC Chairman Andres Alcantar. “One of our top priorities is to safeguard the UI trust fund for the employers and workers of Texas.”

TWC’s Regulatory Integrity Division is charged with detecting and preventing fraud, waste and abuse. The division enforces all regulatory statutes within the jurisdiction of the agency, including Tax, Workforce, Trade Act, Skills Development, Self-Sufficiency, Child Care and all other programs that TWC administers. Prevention, detection and elimination of fraud, waste and abuse are top priorities, ensuring that funds are available exclusively to those who need them.

TWC administers UI benefits to workers who become unemployed through no fault of their own and are actively seeking work. TWC regularly cross-matches UI claims with employer wage reports and other databases to detect possible UI fraud. If TWC discovers that claimants have received UI benefits through fraudulent applications, the agency seeks immediate reimbursement of overpayments.

Suspected fraud can be reported to the TWC Fraud and Program Abuse Hotline at 800-252-3642.