(WXYZ) — The state of Michigan gave out nearly $8.5 billion in fraudulent unemployment claims.
While the bad actors got paid out, some got caught, while others made out like bandits.
But people like Carol Rossow who went by the books to file for unemployment haven't been paid since July.
She was terminated from her job after 23 years due to the pandemic. She later had hand surgery which further complicated things.
"It's not fair to the hard-working people that need the money and who are not committing fraud," she said. "We are being penalized for that. It's not right."
The state owes her more than $6,000 in unemployment. Her application says it's still in progress.
"It's tough and you know my company has paid into unemployment. I have paid into unemployment," she said.
Last week during a hearing, UIA Director Julie Dale was grilled by state lawmakers over the $8.5 billion of unemployment paid out in unemployment fraud.
According to Deloitte, of the 8.5 billion dollars paid out to fraudsters:
$2.7-$2.8 billion was paid out to identity thieves
$5.7 billion was paid out to those misrepresenting their employment status
Nearly $4 billion was paid out in overpayments which were either partly or mostly included in the total
Over the holidays the agency flagged 10,000 fraud claims. To date, over 50 Michiganders have been charged with unemployment fraud.
"We are going to keep going after people who have defrauded the system," UIA Communications Manager Nick Assendelf said. "Do our best with our law enforcement partners. Do the best with the resources we have available and we are going to keep pursuing people who got money they weren't entitled to."
The state's advice for people still seeking unemployment: keep trying.
"Make sure you stay up to date with any kind of requests you get from us," Assendelft said. "Make sure documentation is there. Make sure you don't have any outstanding situations or miss possibly a deadline which has created a different situation."
You can also try to make virtual or in-person appointments.