PHOENIX - After months of fraud and hundreds of millions stolen, Arizona's Department of Economic Security (DES) says arrests have been made in three separate state investigations into unemployment fraud.
In one of the cases covering hundreds of thousands of dollars, federal prosecutors allege a postal worker would tip off someone else on where to send fraudulently claimed benefits.
DES says they’ve received over 3.4 million claims being held for fraud and have paid out hundreds of millions to fraudulent accounts.
After a task force was formed with law enforcement in September, DES now says on Oct. 27, they’ve been involved in 13 fraud investigations that have lead to arrests, including three in Arizona.
According to a complaint filed in Nevada, Vincent Okoye was found with nearly two dozen unemployment cards approved for almost half a million dollars in benefits in Arizona and Nevada.
The complaint alleges he received help from a postal worker who would tell him about rarely checked mailboxes. Part of the complaint reads, “... the lady don’t check her box. It’s a vacation home her parents got.”
Okoye and the unidentified postal worker are both facing multiple federal fraud charges.
DES has yet to detail how many people were arrested and how much they’re accused of defrauding from the state.
Arizonans who've been impacted by fraudulent claims
When Cathleen Marone checked her mail Monday, there was another benefits card, saying, "First thing I did is call the bank and tell them to close that account."
She says her identity was stolen and someone is trying to file for unemployment with her information.
"It is frightening. I’m married 46 years, been on top of my credit, always shredded my documents and everything. And it’s scary somebody has your information out there," Marone said.
On Monday, Oct. 26, FOX 10 reported Tanya Guerrero hasn’t been able to collect since June because someone already did, using her social security number.
"My mortgage is three months behind. Now I have HOA fees that are not getting paid. Everything’s accumulating. The bills don’t stop coming in," Guerrero said.
For more reports on the Department of Economic Security, visit this link.