We all know that times are tough.  Many who are unemployed rely on state benefits to help tide them over until they find a job.  In a lot of cases, that weekly check is a financial lifeline for them and their families during a run of bad luck.  While these unemployment claimants are out dutifully pounding the pavement and looking for a job, they probably don’t expect that there are some people who are fraudulently collecting the benefit that is so vital to keeping them and their families afloat.  Unemployment fraud happens in all states, but people thinking of defrauding the system in Georgia might want to think again.

According to an article on WSBTV.com, the state of Georgia is cracking down on unemployment fraud:  “In separate cases, the state department of labor charged four Cobb County men with fraud.”  One is accused of defrauding the state of nearly $12,000.

The priority is “to get the money back,” according to the state’s labor commissioner.  And the state has been aggressive in its efforts.  They have “gone after more than 5,000 fraud cases since 2011.”  (Great track record. Keep it going!)

So, why would people continue to collect unemployment once they have a job?  Don’t they think they will get caught?  The labor commissioner says “some people try to keep drawing unemployment benefits after they get jobs, not knowing their new employer will submit their Social Security numbers, and they will be checked.”  (I know someone with a solution for that.)

What happens to those who are caught?  The state tries to get the money back, “but if not, they will prosecute.”  And, any fraud over $4,000 is a felony, carrying a maximum jail sentence of up to five years.

Georgia is taking all the right action here by prosecuting offenders and ensuring they do jail time.  Fraudsters should consider themselves on notice:  stay out of the Georgia unemployment system!

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