Forty Michigan Workers Scam $100,000 in Unemployment Scheme

August 10, 2005

Eleven workers in western Michigan have been found guilty of unemployment insurance fraud for collecting more than $100,000 in benefits to which they were not entitled. Twenty-nine others face strong administrative action from the state’s Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA).

All 40 workers were employed by the Lear Corporation in the Grand Rapids area, collecting unemployment benefits while working full-time, according to UIA.

Eleven of the workers were prosecuted and found guilty of defrauding the state’s UI program by collecting between $5,405 and $16,523 each in state jobless benefits. All have to repay the benefits they received. In addition, they face fines, court costs and community service. The agency has started to receive some restitution payments from the 11, totaling more than $3,400.

The 29 other cases involved smaller amounts of money, ranging from $181 to $4,433. In total, however, these workers illegally drew more than $70,000 in unemployment benefits. UIA is taking administrative action against them.

The plan to defraud the agency began after periodic layoffs at Lear that typically occur in January and July, when the workers continued to claimi unemployment benefits after they were back to work, according to UIA.

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