Audit – Hundreds Of Millions Lost On Fake Unemployment Claims
An outside audit of the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency shows all kinds of management missteps and failures. The audit is confirming the claims of Marshall Republican State Representative Mat Hall. He and many Republican state lawmakers have been pointing out the agency has messed up daily since it was hit with huge numbers of claims following shutdowns ordered by Democratic Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer. The audit shows the state delivered potentially hundreds of millions of dollars based on fraudulent claims. And still, thousands of Michigan residents with valid claims, can’t even get a return phone call from an agency representative.
Representative Hall points out that his select legislative committee investigating the state’s handling of issues related to the COVID-19 virus outbreak was stonewalled by former Agency Director Steve Gray for key information. At times, he outright refused to answer key questions during open hearings. Gray is now gone, resigning from his position. The Agency now has a temporary Director. Liza Estlund Olson is scheduled to appear before Hall’s select legislative committee next week. The hearing carries the strong potential of contentious debate. But Hall says he needs cooperation to fix critical issues that plague the Agency. The Detroit Free Press reports the audit shows a rush to handle fraud detection and alerts with the state’s online system takes a lot of the blame for the mess. Part of that was due to top bureaucrats at the agency. They couldn’t agree on how to implement and manage important fraud prevention measures. As a result, some were not put into place at all.