Maine stopped tens of thousands of fraudulent benefit claims

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The state of Maine canceled tens of thousands of fraudulent unemployment claims during a period of less than a month, its labor department said Thursday.

The Maine Department of Labor has spent weeks investigating unemployment impostor fraud in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Labor commissioner Laura Fortman said the department cancelled about 24,600 initial claims and 44,000 weekly certifications between May 30 and June 27.

The labor department said it has also reinstated nearly 11,000 claims that had been flagged for potential fraud.

“We continue to refine the fraud filters so that we prevent fraudulent claims while at the same time provide the least disruption for Maine people who need these funds,” Fortman said.

Unemployment claims have fallen from their spring heights, but more than 4,000 Maine residents still filed new claims for jobless benefits last week, the Portland Press Herald reported.

Maine has reported more than 3,300 cases of coronavirus since the pandemic began.

(Copyright (c) 2020 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)