Michigan Men Charged With Falsely Claiming $4 M In Unemployment Benefits
Detroit Free Press (MI)
Two Pontiac men have been charged with fraudulently claiming $4 million in unemployment benefits from Michigan and others states, federal authorities said Wednesday.
Jermaine Arnett, 34, and Terrance Calhoun Jr., 32, filed more than 500 jobless claims using a handful of IP and mailing addresses, the criminal complaint said. Those unemployment insurance funds were then loaded onto debit cards, resulting in $1.7 million in purchases and cash withdrawals over the course of nearly three months, according to the complaint, announced by the acting U.S. Attorney for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in a news release.
Nearly 40 people have now been indicted for stealing unemployment insurance funds during the pandemic. Brandi Hawkins, a former contract employee for the state's Unemployment Insurance Agency, was the first person to be sentenced, and faces nearly five years in federal prison.
The complaint comes when as many as 10,000 claimants are still without benefits as the agency continues to work through a backlog of claims filed in the pandemic.
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A Deloitte report released nearly a year ago found that hundreds of millions of dollars was likely distributed to criminals.