(AP Photo/Chattanooga Times Free Press, John Rawlston)
NASHVILLE — State Labor Department officials say they have recouped about $15.3 million worth of fraudulently collected unemployment benefits by garnishing tax refunds and other federal payments to people who were not entitled to receive the assistance.
A scathing audit released earlier this year showed that the state overpaid $73 million in unemployment benefits. The overpayments were the result of both fraud and errors at the Department of Labor and Workforce Development. The audit was especially critical of the department's method for recouping fraudulent benefits.
Acting Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Burns Phillips said in a statement that the ability to reclaim fraudulently collected unemployment benefits is critical to the business community. He said the department is focused on developing strategies to prevent people from wrongfully collecting the assistance.