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Lord Shares Disgust with Free Press over State Tapping UIA Funds

LANSING --- A bill headed to Gov. Rick Snyder's desk transfers $10 million in "surplus" unemployment insurance funds to help balance the state budget at the same time thousands of Michigan residents are claiming millions of dollars in benefits and penalties were unlawfully taken from them after the state wrongly accused them of unemployment insurance fraud. During their lame duck session, lawmakers gave final passage Tuesday to Senate Bill 1008, shifting $10 million to the state's general fund from the unemployment insurance contingent fund. "I am beyond disgusted that the Legislature would even consider this," Pitt McGehee Palmer & Rivers attorney Jennifer Lord, who is pursuing a class action on behalf of UI claimants falsely accused of fraud, told the Free Press on Wednesday. Lord noted that Michigan's 2015 audited financial statements show that more than $15 million was seized from claimants that year alone, and the automated fraud determinations began in October 2013, when the agency started using the Michigan Integrated Data Automated System (MiDAS) to make determinations about eligibility, fraud and other issues. "Given these facts, It is critical that this fund be held in the strictest trust until each and every claimant whose tax refunds were seized and whose wages were wrongfully garnished have been made whole," said Lord, whose case is before the Michigan Court of Appeals. Read the entire story at the Free Press Here

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