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Hundreds of Wisconsin inmates collect unemployment


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Hundreds of inmates in Wisconsin’s jails and prisons fraudulently collected unemployment insurance benefits in the last fiscal year, according to data obtained by Wisconsin Reporter through an open records request.


There was, however, a marked decline of jailbirds cashing illegal unemployment checks from the previous year, a sign that initiatives aimed at catching fraud in the state Unemployment Insurance Division are paying off, according to the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development.


BENEFITS BEHIND BARS: More than $425,000 in jobless benefits was paid out in the names of Wisconsin inmates last year, according to information obtained by Wisconsin Reporter in an open records request.

Between July 1, 2013, and the end of last month, the agency “established” 371 cases of unemployment insurance “overpayments” to incarcerated individuals — to the tune of $425,506, according to DWD.

That’s down 37 percent from the previous fiscal year, through June 30, 2013, when the agency tracked 593 cases of jobless benefits paid in the names of Wisconsin prisoners, at a total cost to employers and taxpayers pegged at north of $600,000.

DWD spokesman John Dipko said expanded collaborations with correctional officials over the past few years are helping slam the door on unemployment fraud behind bars.Scissors-32x32.png

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