Audit: Fraudsters bilk Kansas unemployment system for $600M

A report issued Wednesday estimates up to $600 million in fraudulent unemployment claims may have been paid out during the pandemic.

By

State News

February 25, 2021 - 9:47 AM

Auditor Matt Etzel delivers a report on unemployment fraud to lawmakers during a hearing Wednesday at the Statehouse. Photo by (Screen capture by Kansas Reflector)

TOPEKA — A report issued Wednesday by the Legislature’s auditing division estimates up to $600 million in fraudulent unemployment claims may have been paid out during the pandemic.

The estimate is based on 157,000 initial claims flagged in the past 12 months by the Kansas Department of Labor as possible fraud. The agency disputed the audit’s methods and conclusions.

Republicans questioned whether the agency acted quickly or effectively enough to respond to fraud warnings as unemployment claims drained 75% of the state’s trust fund.

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