Financial information

Senate Finance Committee Approves Bill Creating Unemployment Fraud Unit

CHARLESTON, W. Va. — The Senate Finance Committee on Monday approved a measure establishing an anti-fraud unit within WorkForce West Virginia.

Senate Bill 543 would create a division to investigate unemployment fraud and establish training requirements for employees.

WorkForce West Virginia unemployment director Chris McCauley told lawmakers the unit was needed to deal with fraudulent cases. The agency has units to deal with unreported income and other matters, and McCauley noted that some groups have started handling claims related to coronavirus relief.

“We are starting, as part of the cross-matching unit, to start investigating undeclared employer earnings and various things like that,” he said.

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

“We need that law enforcement experience, which we don’t have right now, who has that investigative experience and the subpoena power to prosecute some of these people,” he said. -he declares. “We have the ability to issue subpoenas now, but we have no legs to stand on.”

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

The Senate Judiciary Committee has already approved the measure with modifications. The full Senate will then consider the bill.