TWC Recovers $10.5 Million in Unemployment Insurance Fraud in 2014

AUSTIN, March 21, 2015 - The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) recovered a total of more than $10.5 million in fraudulent Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefit claims during calendar year 2014 (CY2014) through its collection efforts combined with the State Comptroller’s warrant hold process and offsets to current UI benefit claims.

Of that total, TWC recovered nearly $3.1 million in fraudulently obtained UI benefits in CY2014 through TWC’s Fraud Prosecutions Unit. TWC investigates, and refers to local district attorney offices, cases in which UI benefits are obtained through fraud or deception. Recovered funds will be returned to the Unemployment Compensation Trust Fund from which TWC pays unemployment benefits to individuals who have lost their job through no fault of their own.

Nine Austin area individuals from Travis and Williamson counties were prosecuted for state UI fraud in 2014 and were ordered to pay a total of $58,300 in restitution. 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. For a list of recent criminal dispositions listed by county, go to www.texasworkforce.org/ui/bnfts/prosecutiondispo.html.

“The Texas Workforce Commission is committed to preventing abuse of the UI program and prosecuting individuals who engage in fraud,” said TWC Chairman Andres Alcantar. “Preserving the UI Trust Fund for the employers and workers of Texas is a top priority.”

Debt to the state does not go away unless it is paid. The Texas Constitution prohibits forgiving such debt, and TWC continues to pursue and collect fraud, and overpayments obtained through fraud along with all other types of overpayments indefinitely. Examples of fraud include providing false information, failing to report all work and earnings when filing claim certifications for payment of benefits, and under-reporting earnings on claim certifications.

In addition, a claimant receiving fraudulently obtained UI benefits will pay a 15 percent penalty on top of the fraudulently obtained amount. 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 pursues immediate reimbursement of overpayments.

“The Texas Workforce Commission is steadfast in its efforts to prevent UI fraud,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Ronny Congleton. “We will continue to work with employers and the State Comptroller’s office to detect any fraudulent activity.”

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