Senate Finance Committee approves bill establishing unemployment fraud unit

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Chris McCauley, WorkForce West Virginia’s director of unemployment, told lawmakers the unit is necessary to address fraudulent cases. The agency has units to address unreported earnings and other matters, and McCauley noted some groups were started to handle claims related to coronavirus relief.

McCauley noted the legislation would help WorkForce West Virginia submit subpoenas to get documents and financial information of people who submit fraudulent claims. He said state and federal law enforcement agencies are more likely to handle cases if WorkForce West Virginia provides thorough reports to officials.

McCauley said staffing has been approved for the positions. The agency already has two investigators to handle fraud cases.

“We need that law enforcement background, which we currently don’t have, that has that investigative background and the subpoena power to go after some of these individuals,” he said. “We have the ability to do subpoenas now, but we don’t have any leg to stand on with them.”

Story Highlights

  • Senate Bill 543 would create a division for investigating unemployment fraud and establishing training requirements for employees.

  • “We’re beginning, under the cross-match unit, to start to investigate unreported earnings from employers and various things like that,” he said.

The Senate Judiciary Committee already approved the measure with changes. The full Senate will next consider the legislation.