(July 17, 2020) More than 47,500 fraudulent unemployment claims totaling more than $501 million have been discovered by the Maryland Department of Labor, Gov. Larry Hogan said during a Wednesday press conference.
Payments were stopped by state labor officials before the schemers managed to collect, and the investigation helped helped uncover related activity in at least a dozen other states where payments were also blocked.
At work, Hogan said, was a massive identity theft scheme, using information gleaned during previous national data breaches.
Tiffany Robinson, secretary of the state department of labor, said the pandemic unemployment assistance program allows individuals to self-certify that they are unemployed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, which increased the potential for fraud.
“A recent spike in criminal activity led the FBI to issue a national warning about fraud in the unemployment insurance system,” Robinson said.
Hogan and Robinson both reiterated that the claimant’s personal information had not been compromised.
Robinson added that the department is committed to getting unemployment assistance to those who need it as quickly as possible, while also protecting the integrity of system.