Throwback Thursday: Whitmer’s Incompetent Unemployment Insurance Agency Throwback Thursday: Whitmer’s Incompetent Unemployment Insurance Agency - Michigan Rising Action

Throwback Thursday: Whitmer’s Incompetent Unemployment Insurance Agency

Throwback Thursday: Whitmer’s Incompetent Unemployment Insurance Agency

July 15, 2021

Throwback to a year ago, when Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s unemployment agency was accused of stealing benefits from Michiganders in need. The Michigan Star reported:

“The workers are accused of stealing and charging clients to receive their benefits more quickly, WDIV reported. This is happening even as Michigan is among several states experiencing fraudulent claims being submitted, and they temporarily stopped payments.”

Things got so bad, that Governor Whitmer had to hire an outside firm to fix the scandal ridden UIA. The Washington Examiner reported:

“Michigan is investigating whether new Unemployment Insurance Agency employees are stealing and charging users to get expedited benefits, WDIV Channel 4 reports.

‘Recently hired employees are accused of creating accounts of charging users to help get them their benefits sooner,’ the outlet reported.”

Unfortunately for Michiganders, Whitmer’s unemployment agency continued to be embroiled in fraud. In June of this year, an agency employee pleaded guilty to a multi-million dollar fraud scheme. The Detroit News reports:

“A Detroit woman who worked as a contractor for Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency pleaded guilty Wednesday for her role in a multimillion-dollar scheme targeting government funds during the COVID-19 pandemic, federal officials said…

Authorities have accused Hawkins, who reviewed, processed and verified unemployment insurance claims, of working with others to enter numerous false claims between April and June 2020.”

A week later, another one of Whitmer’s unemployment agents was charged with unemployment fraud. The Detroit News reports:

“A state contract employee claimed to be unemployed and collected unemployment benefits while working at the state Unemployment Insurance Agency, federal prosecutors said Wednesday. 

Autumn Mims also opened bank accounts and processed fraudulent unemployment claims under the names of unsuspecting third parties after she was hired by the agency in August 2020.”

This week, hundreds of thousands of Michiganders were told they may have to repay unemployment benefits as far back as March of 2020, due to Governor Whitmer’s unemployment agency mistakenly giving out the wrong qualifying information. The Detroit News reports:

“More than 648,000 Michigan unemployment recipients have to file additional paperwork and may have to repay benefits because of unapproved qualification criteria developed by a state agency…

The U.S. Department of Labor said the four qualifications listed by the state when it began distributing Pandemic Unemployment Assistance benefits did not comply with federal guidelines.”

With a year of continuous incompetence and scandal at the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency, it’s clear the former Director, Steve Gray, should return the $86,000 taxpayer funded hush money payment that Governor Whitmer gave him. MLive reports:

“Michigan’s former Unemployment Insurance Agency Director Steve Gray was given $85,872 in a separation agreement signed in November 2020 to resign. The deal, obtained by MLive, includes a confidentiality clause and requires Gray to “release all claims” against the state.”

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