STATEWIDE – Another 24,500 people have filed initial claims for unemployment benefits over the past week — more than double the number of claims last week, a Maine Department of Labor spokesperson said Thursday.
The initial claims and weekly certifications of 137,700 claims for state unemployment and 135,600 claims for pandemic unemployment assistance represent a suspicious increase, she said.
“We believe these higher numbers are evidence of the organized crime of unemployment impostor fraud, which many states are experiencing,” Commissioner Laura Fortman said.
The department previously reported that 1,000 cases of potential fraud are under investigation.
To date, the department has canceled about 2,200 unemployment claims because of fraud.