10 On Your Side Investigation: While displaced workers wait for benefits, hundreds of millions lost in unemployment fraud
PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – A hundred million dollars here, a hundred million dollars there, and pretty soon you’re talking real money. It’s an old joke, but it’s no laughing matter when it involves criminals stealing from the Virginia unemployment system.
For thousands in Hampton Roads who’ve lost their jobs to the pandemic, it’s been a painful pattern of filing for unemployment, waiting, wondering and then waiting some more.
Meanwhile, others are getting paid by getting over on the system. Unemployment fraud takes money away from workers and jacks up costs for employers.
In many cases it involves a double-crime of stealing someone’s identity and stealing from the state government.
A man we will call “Robert” tried to file for unemployment on June 30. “And (Virginia Employment Commission) said my information was already being used. They put a freeze on