April 9, 2021

More than $6 million stolen from unemployed Tennesseans due to fraud | News

More than $6 million stolen from unemployed Tennesseans due to fraud | News


NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) – A Tennessee lawmaker says changes must be made at the department of labor after millions of dollars have been stolen that should have gone to unemployed Tennesseans.

News4 investigates has uncovered that 6 million dollars have been stolen in unemployment benefits.

Consumer investigative reporter Lindsay Bramson has been talking to unemployed Tennesseans and took their concerns directly to the commissioner.

Tammy Nauman was floored when she received a 1099 form in the mail letting her know she owes taxes on more than $9,000 in unemployment benefits.

The problem? She never filed for unemployment.

“To get a 1099 in the mail from unemployment…I was like well this is a joke. What’s going on with this,” said Nauman.

And she’s not alone.

For months, News4 investigates has been telling you how hackers are getting into the Department of Labors system and stealing money.

In Nauman’s case, someone is using her name and personal information, including her social security number to collect benefits.

“It worries me. It’s my social security number. Somebody who has it still has it. I have no way of knowing or stopping that,” said Nauman.

“Here we are nearly a year later and the state in many ways still hasn’t responded accordingly,” said Tennessee State Representative John Ray Clemmons.

Rep. Clemmons says after 2,862 total fraud cases and $6,130,049 million missing, he feels the governor must now take action.

“This is just another example of how they have failed to respond to the needs of Tennessee families,” said Rep. Clemmons.

“I can understand the frustration that people have,” said Jeff McCord who is the commissioner over the Tennessee department of labor.

McCord says in addition to the 600 extra staff hired this year, they’ve also increased security on their computer systems.

But news4 investigates has talked with dozens of unemployed Tennesseans who say if that’s the case…why does it continue to happen? Even as thousands still don’t have benefits.

Consumer investigator Lindsay Bramson asked McCord, “if it was you, could you go several weeks without getting a paycheck? It’s not about me. It’s about serving them. But could you go several weeks without a paycheck? It’s not about me Lindsay,” said McCord.

The department says they continue to make upgrades to their system to make it more secure. And promise those who have been hacked will still get their money.

Bramson said, “people feel like they’re helpless. Do you understand that? Yes, I do. There’s no way to see a third of the state’s workforce going on unemployment,” said McCord.

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