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A Pa. employment claim was flagged as fraud and denied, so how did a scammer still get paid? | FOX43 Finds Out

One man told the state someone filed a fake claim and reported it, so did his employer. FOX43 Finds Out how the claim was still paid to a fraudster.

HARRISBURG, Pa. — James Bach never received a dime of unemployment benefits.

He has a job and never filed for unemployment.

Yet, somehow, a claim was made in his name and someone got more than $1,700.

Bach wants to know how many claims are being paid that shouldn't be paid.

The state Department of Labor and Industry knows this is happening. People are file fraudulent unemployment claims using information from data breaches, and then collect the payments for themselves. 

Back in the spring, L&I recaptured nearly 800-millions dollars from fraudulent claims.

Bach's case is a bit different.

Back in May, FOX43 Finds Out shared the start of his story. At the time he said, "You follow all advice that you hear from all different directions about what to do and how to do it. And then all of a sudden it happens. Like, ok."

And he followed the advice again when he became a victim.

He filed an unemployment fraud report with the state and the federal government. His employer even denied the claim and reported the fraud too.

Yet his company got notice that someone somewhere got $1,700 in Bach's name. 

"You were told the claim should be denied," Bach said. "Then you went ahead into the system and said, 'Oh we'll pay it!'"

FOX43 Finds Out did ask the Department of Labor and Industry Secretary Jennifer Berrier how this could happen, especially since the unemployment system was updated in June. 

She said, "Going live with the new system, we received a lot of fraudulent claims initially. There are some that will get through. We caught most of it, but there are some that still go through our fraud measures."

Berrier says the department has now implemented another verification process, which she thinks would have stopped the fraud in Bach's case.

"This most likely is something that occurred before we implemented the identity verification," she said.

Berrier says if this happens to you, file another fraud report with the state, and the department will follow up.

Although Bach says he doesn't have faith that will happen. And now he's afraid of a financial headache during tax time. 

"If you think you have any trust in the government agencies that are supposed to monitoring and managing this, and they come on and they tell us, 'Oh we have a new system in place, we're doing this we're doing that,' who can I believe?" he asked. "I'm not going to take any of that at face value."

FOX43 Finds Out did file a right to know request with L&I just to see how bad this problem could be.

We want to know how many fraudulent claims reports have been made in Pennsylvania since March of 2020 and how many of those cases have been solved.

So far, we have not heard back.

If you have a story you want Jackie to look into, FOX43 wants to find out. Send her a message on Facebook or send an email to FOX43FindsOut@FOX43.com.   

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