PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A nationwide crackdown is coming for people fraudulently drawing unemployment payments — a $17 billion benefits swindle last year alone.
Authorities say they're after those who were never eligible as well as workers who keep getting checks after they return to work. With the poor economy lingering and the jobless rate remaining high, Rhode Island and other states are stepping up efforts to crack down on the fraud and improper payments.
A top U.S. Labor Department official says as much as 30 percent of the wrong payments last year went to people who had returned to the workforce but continued to claim benefits.
States are hiring more investigators to identify fraud and they're retaining collection agencies. They're also collaborating on sharing information on unemployment insurance with other states and multistate employers.
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