Millions of Americans were suddenly out of work last year, and the government struggled to make sure they had the benefits they needed. In Ohio, the struggle was especially difficult.
Recently, the state revealed a huge problem with fraudulent unemployment claims. According to Lt. Gov. Jon Husted nearly half of the 1.4 million claims for special unemployment assistance last year were flagged as potentially fraudulent. The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services said 1.7 million people had received tax forms indicating they had filed for unemployment benefits last year, even though many did not in fact request the benefits.
According to news reports, officials found high numbers of fraudulent unemployment claims, including some that were in the names of Gov. Mike DeWine, his wife and Lt. Gov. Husted. Presumably, many more fraudulent applications were filed in the names of less famous people.
This situation raises the possibility of a lot more trouble down the road. For instance, some people have been asked to pay taxes on benefits they did not request and did not receive. These people may be asked to prove that the application in their name was filed by someone else.
Potential fraud charges
Even worse than the tax problems is the possibility of criminal charges. It is possible that some Ohioans will ultimately face accusations they filed fraudulent applications when in fact they were victims of fraud.
To defend themselves from these accusations and possible charges, these people may need to present evidence, and may need to argue their case. They do not have to do this alone. Anyone facing accusations of fraud should speak to an attorney about their rights and options for defending their future.