Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on Wednesday announced a massive unemployment insurance theft scheme, with claims totaling more than $501 million, had been discovered in the state.
About 47,500 individuals were involved in what Hogan described as a “massive, sophisticated” and “coordinated” scheme, whereby criminals used stolen identities from national data breaches to try to get unemployment assistance money.
Overall, more than 47,500 fraudulent claims were said to have been made.
“The state of Maryland exposing this illegal scheme and notifying the federal authorities has helped shed light on related fraudulent criminal activities in at least a dozen other states,” Hogan said during a press conference on Wednesday.
The state’s Department of Labor was tipped off to potential unlawful activity by an unusual increase in out-of-state federal pandemic unemployment assistance claims, Hogan said.
As of June 20, the number of people receiving unemployment benefits was nearly 19.3 million.
Studies have shown that benefits for 68 percent of workers would exceed earnings.