UIA reviewing remaining cases of potential fraud

Holly Fournier, and Jonathan Oosting
The Detroit News

The Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency announced Friday that it is reviewing the remaining cases of potential fraud initially identified by an automated computer system that was later called into question as officials discovered a 93 percent error rate on previously examined cases.

“We are being as thorough as possible in reviewing potential fraud determinations because we want to be fair to people filing claims, but also continue to be vigilant against fraud, which hurts everyone,” said Wanda M. Stokes, director of the Talent Investment Agency, which includes the UIA.

The cases now being reviewed were from 2013 to 2015, officials said. About 7,000 of the remaining 30,000 cases already have been addressed.

“I am very pleased to hear that the State has committed to reviewing the additional fraud decisions made during the period that there were automatic computer determinations," said U.S. Rep. Sander Levin, who has pushed for the reviews. "It is important that the Talent Investment Agency has announced a full review of all cases to ensure that anyone wrongly accused of fraud is made whole and has their record corrected."

The Friday announcement came one day after former UIA director Sharon Moffett-Massey was reassigned amid news that more than 20,000 fraud claims against out-of-work residents were later overturned on review. Bruce Noll, TIA’s legislative liaison, will serve as acting assistant director and oversee the unemployment agency during a national replacement search.

The review, conducted by the agency and released in December, showed the computer system wrongly accused at least 20,965 unemployment recipients of fraud between October 2013 and August 2015. The state reviewed 22,427 of 53,633 cases that originated during that 22-month span. Of those, original fraud determinations were upheld 1,462 times on appeal, a 93 percent error rate.

The agency said it repaid 2,572 individuals it had fined for alleged fraud. Total repayments topped $5.4 million.

hfournier@detroitnews.com

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@HollyPFournier