Rep. Wenstrup Votes to Protect Taxpayers and Victims of Unemployment Fraud
Washington, May 12, 2023
Washington, D.C. - Representative Brad Wenstrup (R-OH) voted in favor of H.R. 1163, the Protecting Taxpayers and Victims of Unemployment Fraud Act, which passed the House by a vote of 230-200. This legislation would incentivize states to recover fraudulent unemployment payments by allowing them to retain 25 percent of fraudulent federal funds recovered. These recovered funds would be available for states to improve their unemployment insurance (UI) programs, hire investigators, and prevent future fraud.
An estimated $191 billion in improper payments were made, according to the Department of Labor’s Office of the Inspector General, and outside experts put the number as high as $400 billion.
"Pandemic unemployment insurance fraud is something that has touched virtually every one of us in my home state of Ohio. Whether it be a neighbor, friend, or colleague, we all know someone who struggled to reclaim their stolen identity or get assistance due to this fraud. Our own Governor, Mike DeWine, his wife Fran, and our Lt. Gov. Jon Husted were notified that fraudulent claims had been filed in their names. Ohio is estimated to have paid $1 billion in fraudulent unemployment from March 2020 to June 2022. We've only been able to recover a fraction of what was stolen," said Rep. Wenstrup. "Hundreds of billions of dollars in relief, which was meant to help unemployed Americans suffering through an unprecedented pandemic, went in many cases to foreign fraudsters and criminal organizations. We owe it to American taxpayers to be good stewards of the tax dollars we are entrusted with – and to hold criminal fraudsters accountable. This bill will help us do that. In addition to helping states recover fraudulent overpayments, it also extends the statute of limitations for prosecuting fraud so that we can hold these criminals responsible and prevent fraud in the future."