DES: Thousands more unemployment claims flagged as 'potential fraud' have accounts reinstated

Arizona's Department of Economic Security (DES) revealed it uncovered another 5,000 unemployment claims that were wrongly flagged as fraudulent on Aug. 31.

The total now is at 95,000 receiving back pay after their accounts were marked as fraud, but many more say they’re still not receiving anything.

Whether some get paid or not, the damage is already done for many as bill due dates have come and gone. For some, it’s meant leaving the state altogether.

Arizona DES director talks unemployment claims, fraudulent cases

The smile of a recent graduate of Grand Canyon University faded fast as he was laid off this summer.

Ryan Dean moved back in with his parents. He was receiving unemployment and wanted to stay in Arizona, but in July, his account was flagged for fraud.

"No warning, no call, just money wiped, account gone. Had to move back home," Dean said.

Eric Elliot's business, Arizona Pedal Cab, is fighting to stay afloat. "I had a great end of the year. Great February, March and just like that. Crocodile jaws. It just shut," he said.

The pandemic unemployment assistant started and then stopped as it did for tens of thousands.

"A person like myself who's a hundred percent honest with them, provides every single document, locked account. Don’t want to hear from you anymore," Elliot said.

He’s one of the thousands waiting for his account to be reinstated.

On Aug. 19, DES released 90,000 claims after confirming they weren’t fraudulent. Of those interviewed by Fox 10, most of them got their money after all.

Many others who say they aren’t fraud haven't had their accounts released to allow benefits to post funds to their bank accounts.

"Caught up for very unique circumstances and we need to figure out ways for them to get paid as well," said Michael Wisehart, Director of DES.

DES says it uncovered another 5,000 cases this week. Department officials say they are still working with data analytic companies to uncover more claims that are honest in the sea of hundreds of thousands of claims flagged as potential fraud.

For more reporting on the Department of Economic Security, visit