Missouri Announces Convictions of Unemployment Insurance Fraud With More Than $180,000 in Restitution Ordered


Missouri Department of Labor Aggressively Investigates Insurance Fraud

Jefferson City, MO  (CompNewsNetwork) - The Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations recently announced its referrals resulted in 41 criminal convictions for unemployment insurance (UI) fraud. The convictions resulted in court-ordered restitution totaling $180,807.03. The 41 convicted received from 2-5 years probation and restitution ranging from $2,505.00 to $7,972.00.

The convicted individuals were investigated by the Department's Division of Employment Security (DES) and were referred to the county's Prosecuting or Circuit Attorney.

In calendar year 2007, the Division collected $12,252,338 in restitution from overpaid benefits and monetary penalties from claimants. The most common reasons for improper payment are the collection of UI benefits after returning to work or concealing information on the weekly claim that would have made employees ineligible for benefits.

The Division also utilizes the National Directory of New Hires database to detect unemployment insurance fraud. New Hires is a national database that allows the Division to cross-check names and identification against all active UI claimants. The system will identify persons who have been reemployed anywhere in the United States, but are still attempting to draw benefits from Missouri's UI fund.

Additionally, the Division and the Department of Revenue have implemented a data-sharing process to collect money due on overpayments. Cross-checking data allows the Division to intercept Missouri State Income Tax refunds for individuals who received an overpayment of UI benefits.

The DES actively pursues criminal prosecution of individuals who file fraudulent claims. Such claims raise employer taxes and reduce the fund used for paying benefits.

Under Missouri law, workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own and are actively seeking work may be eligible to receive up to 26 weeks of unemployment insurance benefits.

In addition to overpaid benefits and investigating claimant fraud, the Division collects unemployment insurance delinquent taxes, penalties and interest from employers. In calendar year 2007, the Division collected $106,260,050 in delinquent taxes, penalties and interest from employers. Penalties are imposed if an employer fails to file any required report by the specified due date. Interest accrues on contributions that are due and unpaid after each quarterly due date.

For more information regarding the Division of Employment Security or to report potential unemployment insurance fraud, visit www.dolir.mo.gov/es or call  (573) 751-3215.

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