Authorities audit over 2,800 unemployment claims for fraud

March 4, 2021 GMT

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — More than 2,800 unemployment insurance claims have been sent to authorities to be investigated for fraud, South Carolina officials said.

As of February 2021, officials have referred 2,855 claims to either federal or state law enforcement for possible prosecution of fraud for financial gain during the pandemic, news outlets reported.

The Department of Employment and Workforce said federal programs aimed at providing pandemic relief have been “susceptible to criminals eager to take advantage of these funds.”

The agency said they’ve added new security measures and additional staff to help combat the fraudulent claims.

DEW Executive Director Dan Ellzey said the agency expects charges to be filed against some of the claimants.

If someone is found guilty of unemployment insurance fraud, they will be disqualified from receiving benefits for up to a year, officials said. Guilty parties will also have to repay the benefits and may face possible prison time.