Unemployment Insurance Fraud and Consequences in Ohio
Unemployment insurance fraud is a common form of benefits fraud in both the state of Ohio and across the country. UI fraud typically occurs when someone knowingly claims unemployment benefits while he or she is not applicable to receive them. UI fraud can cost the American economy millions of dollars in unqualified benefit payments. That is why the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services (ODJFS) and the United States Department of Labor takes unemployment benefits fraud seriously and offers penalties for such offenses. Many Ohio residents might find themselves wondering, “What are the unemployment insurance fraud penalties?” or, “How can I report someone committing unemployment fraud in the state of Ohio?” To get answers to these questions and more, continue to the topics below.
What is considered Ohio unemployment insurance fraud?
Ohio residents commit UI fraud when they knowingly give false information to claim unemployment benefits. This could result from lying about the reason the beneficiary or claimant was discharged from his or her last job position, or it could be from filing under someone else’s identity. UI claimants can also commit fraud if they have found employment, but continue to collect benefits for unemployment.
Claimants may accidentally commit unemployment compensation fraud if they forget to accurately report their earnings during a week in which they are receiving unemployment benefits. They will not be charged with fraud if they can prove that they did not knowingly withhold information for the sake of receiving more unemployment benefits. The exact penalty for unemployment fraud varies from case to case. To get the full details on fraud penalties, download our free guide.
The Penalties for Unemployment Fraud in Ohio
Ohio law calls unemployment benefits fraud “fraudulent misrepresentation,” and offers several penalties for such offenses. If found guilty of fraud, the claimant can be ordered to:
- Repay all illegally claimed UI benefits.
- Pay 25 percent of the total of the fraudulently received benefits in penalties.
- Be made unqualified for future benefits that he or she would have been able to claim if fraud had not been committed.
Other penalties can include jail time or probation. If the UI fraud is combined with other crimes, such as identity theft, the claimant could face harsher penalties, including felony charges, depending on the nature of the fraud or the additional crimes.
Ohio’s Benefit Payment Control unit (BPC) is responsible for investigating potential unemployment fraud for the state. BPC protects against unemployment insurance benefits fraud by using computer systems to check government records for reported incomes for other programs, as well wages paid by employers who are working with those who have received (or still are receiving) UI benefits. They also look at new hire records provided by employers, as well as investigate tips from anonymous sources.
How to Report Unemployment Insurance Fraud in Ohio
Finding out how to report unemployment fraud is important for everyone to know. The Ohio BPC recently uncovered more than $19 million as the result of fraudulent overpayment of UI benefits in the state. In Ohio, you can report someone for committing unemployment fraud by calling Benefit Payment Control. You can also make contact via email or by writing a letter via traditional mail. Download our guide to review more details about contacting the Benefit Payment Control authorities.
The Department of Labor allows each state to have its own separate agency for investigating unemployment and other benefits fraud. If the person you wish to report for unemployment insurance fraud is collecting fraudulent benefits in a state that is not Ohio, you will need to report the person to that state’s agency that is responsible for managing fraudulent claims.
Other Details About Unemployment Fraud in Ohio
If claimants are found guilty of committing unemployment insurance fraud and are not able to pay the penalty for unemployment fraud entirely in one payment, they will be pursued by the Ohio Attorney General's Office until full payment has been made. Not paying the entire UI fraud penalty in a timely manner can lead a claimant to face more legal consequences. The Attorney General’s Office can withhold money from a claimant’s tax returns on the state and federal level to help pay back the penalties that the claimant incurred for fraudulent benefits claims.
Employers of those who are under investigation for unemployment benefits fraud can take steps to assist the BPC in completing the investigation. Employers should cooperate with the BPC or other government agencies that investigate fraud. Employers should provide information about the wages and hire dates of the employee that is in question. By providing accurate and timely information, the BPC can come to pursue fraudulent charges on the claimant sooner. Not only will this help bring potentially guilty claimants to justice, but it will also benefit employers, as their taxes will be lowered due to a decrease in benefits distributed to those enrolled in unemployment insurance.
Learn more about unemployment insurance fraud by downloading our comprehensive guide.