The Kansas Department of Labor sent letters late last year to Laura Kelly about the unemployment benefits she had claimed. The only problems were that Kelly had not filed a claim, and that she is employed — as the state's governor. A tsunami of fraudulent unemployment claims sweeping the nation has cost states and the federal government tens of billions of dollars in payments, many to overseas crime syndicates and nefarious hackers who have gained access to Americans' Social Security numbers and other identifying information. ADVERTISEMENT The scope of the crisis is not yet known, though the early estimates are eye-popping: California officials have identified at least $11.4 billion in fraudulent claims, and they suspect another $20 billion may be fraudulent. New York officials have referred more than 400,000 fraudulent claims to federal investigators, totaling $5.5 billion in claims, most of which were caught before they were paid. In Ohio, more than 100,000 people have reported potential fraudulent activity in their names to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. Ohio and Michigan officials each estimated the potential fraud cost their states hundreds of millions of dollars. Colorado's Department of Labor and Employment has flagged more than a million… Read full this story
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