From the Detroit News – May 3, 2017

Lansing — The agency overseeing Michigan’s unemployment program said Wednesday that the number of botched fraud cases has risen by about a third after further review.

The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency has been under fire for using an automated computer system that made more than 20,000 false fraud determinations between October 2013 and August 2015. The latest review brought the agency’s total false fraud determinations to more than 26,650, about a 33 percent increase.

The agency said it botched more than 6,650 more fraud cases of an additional 14,000-plus cases it reviewed between 2013 and 2015 — a little less than half of the cases. Slightly more than half of the cases it reviewed were accurate, the agency said.

The latest review marks the halfway point for the agency’s broader look into 28,000 fraud determinations it made during that time with its fraud detection computer system and “some level” of staff review, said Dave Murray, a spokesman for the Talent Investment Agency, which oversees the Unemployment Insurance Agency.

An initial batch of 20,000 cases were reviewed in the fall that were only determined by the automatic computer program. After that, the agency agreed to review another 28,000 cases, which should be done by July, Murray said.

But the number of wrongful determinations is much higher, said a lawyer representing those who allege they were wrongly accused in two separate suits. Jennifer Lord said more than 46,000 people were wrongly accused of fraud and accused the state of wrongfully seizing more than $100 million from Michigan residents.

The state disputes her claim.

Lord said she believes the agency has botched nearly all of its fraud determinations.

“I’d certainly like to see some verification of what they’re claiming,” she said Wednesday. “Frankly, I’m even more concerned that I was before.”

 

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