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Arizona freezes 43K unemployment accounts over alleged fraud

October 13, 2020 GMT

PHOENIX (AP) — The Arizona Department of Economic Security said it has prevented 43,000 unemployment accounts from receiving benefits after those accounts were flagged as potentially fraudulent.

It was the second time this year the state had frozen payments to weed out fraud, the Arizona Republic reported Monday. In July, the department closed 28,000 accounts suspected of fraud, cutting benefits to many people who had legitimate claims.

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About 3,800 accounts out of the 28,000 closed in July, or just under 14%, were later found legitimate and the residents were repaid, according to the department.

It is currently unknown how many claims in the ongoing fraud freeze are legitimate, but a DES official said Monday the number is likely to be small.

“Based on a report of potentially fraudulent activity from our banking institution, a temporary hold was placed on the accounts of approximately 43,000 Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claimants,” DES spokesperson Brett Bezio said in an email. “Due to these fraud indicators, the number of legitimate claimants affected by this hold is expected to be very limited.”