At least $12 million has been fraudulently claimed from Rhode Island’s unemployment fund

Northeast

CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — At least $12 million has been fraudulently claimed from Rhode Island’s Department of Labor and Training’s (DLT) unemployment fund.

Rhode Island’s DLT expects even more reports of stolen money over the course of the investigation into the theft.

So far, $2 billion has been distributed in unemployment claims. It is not clear at this time how many Rhode Islanders were impacted by the scheme due to the ongoing investigation.

The Director of the DLT Scott Jensen says there’s been a decrease in fraudulent claims since the issue was first discovered in May.

“Our fraud mechanisms are much more robust then they were but again it continues to be a cat and mouse game with these fraudsters all over the country,” Jensen told NewsNation affiliate WPRI.

He also noted that some Rhode Islanders are continuing to have their identities stolen related to the fraud.

One example is Wanda Brito. She explained to NewsNation affiliate WPRI that making ends meet became nearly impossible after having her identity stolen which led to her unemployment insurance stopping.

“They sent me a rent receipt this month saying you have to pay the rent and I was like, I can’t pay the rent. I don’t have income,” Brito said in July.

The investigation into the fraudulent claims is being conducted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Rhode Island State Police.

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