Labor Department committed to investigating fraudulent unemployment claims

Published: Jun. 25, 2020 at 1:54 PM EDT
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The state Labor Department says 2,900 initial claims for unemployment were filed last week.

At the same time, the department cancelled 6,200 claims and certifications suspected of being fraudulent.

1,900 were initial claims and 4,300 were weekly certifications.

State officials say an additional 2,700 initial claims were filed for the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program.

The Maine Department of Labor met today over Zoom to discuss the latest updates with a focus on the number of claims continuing to drop.

Commissioner Laura Fortman says their efforts have remained focused on getting money to those who truly need it.

"Our goal is two fold. It is to continue to pay benefits to people who are legitimate and eligible as quickly as possible, and at the same time, we have the responsibility to make sure that we do everything possible to prevent fraudsters, criminals basically, from being paid what they should not receive," said Laura Fortman, the Commissioner of the Maine Department of Labor.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, labor officials say they have received about 162,000 initial claims for the state unemployment program and 72,400 for federal assistance.

To date, the department has received roughly 24,700 reports of unemployment imposter fraud.

The department has also paid out more than $882 million dollars in benefits.

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