The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) has launched an unemployment fraud task force (UFTF) comprised of state and federal partners. The team will investigate fraudulent unemployment claims in Oklahoma and identify those responsible for the criminal activity.
To combat the false claims, OSBI Director Ricky Adams is making a major commitment of OSBI resources and dedicating them to this large-scale investigation. In addition to the OSBI, UFTF members include the Oklahoma Attorney General’s Office, Oklahoma Information Fusion Center (OIFC), Oklahoma Employment Security Commission (OESC), Oklahoma Office of Management and Enterprise Services (OMES), Secretary of Oklahoma’s Digital Transformation and Administration, U.S. Department of Labor and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
“We are hearing from citizens, businesses, municipalities and state agencies that fraudulent unemployment claims are rampant across the state,” Adams said. “Not only are Oklahomans having to deal with their identity being stolen, but those that are truly unemployed and have applied for benefits are having their claims slowed down by thousands of fraudulent claims clogging up the system.”
“It is unacceptable for con artists to use a crisis like the current pandemic as a way to take advantage of Oklahomans who continue to suffer,” Attorney General Mike Hunter said. “Director Adams is to be commended for his leadership in forming this joint task force that will combine the law enforcement power of the state and federal government and crackdown on this criminal behavior. I look forward to working together with our partners to help Oklahomans. I also continue to be proud of the team in my office who has taken on this enormous task.”
Any local law enforcement agency, sheriff’s office, or other entity in the state that receives a complaint of unemployment fraud from a citizen should email that information to firstname.lastname@example.org. The OESC will vet the information and then forward relevant investigative leads to the OIFC. From there, the information will be assigned to an OSBI intelligence analyst and an agent for investigation. The goal is to identify the network of criminals behind the false claims and ultimately refer cases for prosecution.
“It is terrible that these criminals are preying on Oklahomans during the COVID-19 pandemic. There is no place for it and we appreciate the willingness of our state and federal partners to assist us in our effort to put an end to this criminal activity. It is truly a collaborative effort,” Adams said.
Individuals or businesses that receive bogus claims are asked to fill out a new form on the attorney general’s website, which can be found at oag.ok.gov. Hunter said since his office began helping direct complaints to law enforcement last week, they have received around 2,500 complaints of unemployment fraud.
KXMX News Staff
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