New Mexico Finally Prosecutes Fraud, a $16M Enterprise

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The State of New Mexico has finally begun to crack down on unemployment fraud – after five years without a single prosecution? Not only that – state has reported that it detected $16 million in fraud last year alone! (You mean they are going to look for cheaters for the first time in five years, and we already know the state has likely been taken for at least $16 million??)

The article explains how the state has received a grant of $2.5 million to connect with a national computer system that tracks when the unemployed gain work. The New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions will reportedly audit 50 claims a week. (Fifty a week? With a population of two million and 61,000 unemployed, only checking 10 claims a day will barely scratch the surface.)

The state also said it’s looking at actually prosecuting people who perpetrate fraud (a novel approach), rather than just making them repay what they owe – a standard followed by other states. It’s a good first step, but one that will be difficult to realize if the state only audits 2,600 claimants a year, or less than five percent of its unemployed. It’s true – finding the needle of fraud in the haystack isn’t always easy, but a good first step is to look at more than five percent of it…

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, ”State begins crackdown on unemployment benefits fraud,” by the Associated Press, October 24, 2011.

SANTA FE, N.M. — The state is strengthening efforts to catch those who cheat the state’s unemployment benefits system.

While the New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions hasn’t prosecuted anyone for fraud in the past five years, it has reported that it detected fraud of nearly $16 million last year alone.

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Larry Benson
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.