Michigan agency defends handling of unemployment fraud

Apr 11, 2013

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - The head of Michigan's Unemployment Insurance Agency is defending his agency's decision to not attend some insurance fraud hearings in light of staffing cuts.

Steve Arwood was called to testify in front of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Thursday.

Arwood was asked to address a report in the Detroit Free Press on Sunday that said the agency instructed officials to only show up at administrative fraud hearings if the amount is at least $15,000.

Arwood says last October the agency was forced to cut staff from 1,200 to 800 employees, including 20 people whose primary responsibility was to attend hearings.

In 2011, lawmakers passed legislation to reduce the threshold for a felony charge for unemployment insurance fraud from $25,000 to $3,500.