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Associated Press/WSBT-TV/CBS - PMP&R's Lord Interviewed in UIA Fraud Story

LANSING, Mich. (AP) A $47 million computer system that came online after the state's unemployment insurance agency laid off about 400 people in 2012 to cut costs has been mistakenly charging thousands of people with fraud, some lawyers say. State lawmakers are holding a series of legislative hearings, with two scheduled this week, to see what can be done about what they say could be an inordinate number of false fraud charges from the agency. State Rep. Ed McBroom, a Vulcan Republican who set up a panel of lawmakers to look into the issue, said he wants legislation on the House floor by the end of the month, after an April audit found that hundreds of thousands of phone calls to the agency went unanswered while much of its mail was sent to wrong addresses. It said the agency could do a better job of ensuring due process for those it's accusing of fraud. An earlier February audit found a strikingly low number of appealed cases from 2013 to 2015 were actually upheld 263 of 3,460, about 8 percent. About 45 percent of appealed cases were dismissed. "So flip that around, a whopping 92 percent of people accused of fraud didn't do anything wrong," said Jennifer Lord, a Royal Oak attorney working on a lawsuit filed against the agency in the state court of claims. "This fraud program is actually a profit center." Lord said she believes the agency mistakenly assessed much of the money it levied against people from 2013 to 2015, though officials with the agency said they could not readily confirm how much was actually collected. You can read the entire story here

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