Maryland: Fraudsters attempted to claim unemployment using top officials’ names

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Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) said Wednesday that the names of top government officials ― including his own ― were used to attempt to claim fraudulent unemployment benefits.

An investigation into the claims is under way by the Maryland State Police and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of the Inspector General, officials said.

Filers also attempted to make claims using the information of Lt. Gov. Boyd K. Rutherford (R), Labor Secretary Tiffany P. Robinson, and several other members of the governor’s cabinet, the state said.

Hogan and the state Department of Labor have come under fire as some Marylanders have waited for weeks and months to receive unemployment benefits. But state officials say a very small number of claims are tied up by fraud investigations.

“The vast majority of claims we have flagged have been confirmed as fraudulent, saving taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars,” Hogan said in a statement. “This is another example of how this kind of fraud can happen to anyone, and we need to remain vigilant.”

More than 214,000 claims have been flagged for potential fraud by the Maryland Department of Labor and more than 85% of flagged claims have been confirmed as fraudulent, the Hogan administration said Wednesday.

There are currently 1,823 claims flagged as potentially fraudulent that are pending manual review, according to state figures released Wednesday.

In July, Hogan announced that the state had uncovered a criminal scheme involving more than 47,500 fraudulent unemployment insurance claims totaling more than $501 million.

The Maryland Department of Labor runs weekly queries to cross-check all claimants filing and reporting the State of Maryland as their last employer.

Since March 9, the state has paid out more than $8.2 billion in state and federal unemployment benefits.

Officials are asking anyone who thinks their personal information has been used to fraudulently file an unemployment insurance claim to contact The Maryland Department of Labor’s Division of Unemployment Insurance by emailing ui.fraud@maryland.gov.

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