Texas inmates collect millions in unemployment funds - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Texas inmates collect millions in unemployment funds

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Over the past four years, $3.4 million in unemployment payments were given to Texans under lock and key, according to a Houston television station.

Documents provided by the Texas Workforce Commission show they investigated more than 1,700 cases of it during that time.

Texas Workforce Commission spokesperson Lisa Givens tells FOX 7, they do weekly cross matches with the Texas Department of Justice to prevent fraud. But that's only for state prisons.

"What we're looking to enhance through our systems is to obtain information that's at county and local municipalities. The federal information is not available to us, so we're strong advocates of trying to obtain that information," Givens said.

So how does something like this happen?

Givens says sometimes an inmate may be legally getting unemployment before being locked up and then they just keep requesting it from behind bars.

Some inmates may have someone on the outside getting it for them and then there's just plain ol' identity theft.

And it certainly doesn't help that these days unemployment funds are put on a debit card.

"When you have a paper check, it's a little bit easier to keep track of that and where that's going and whose signing that for instance," Givens said.

We asked some unemployed Austinites what they think about the situation.

Marquay Dunn isn't too angry.

"Oh man, that's a hard question. I mean, anybody deserves money, so....I don't know," Dunn said.

Joseph Hernandez has just filed for unemployment himself.

"I'm a hard working person and I'm over here struggling while these people are corrupting the system and they're making money from corrupting the system. I think I'm getting screwed here! It's not right," Hernandez said.

Brian Watson is between jobs but his fiancé works so he says he would rather unemployment go to someone who really needs the money.

"It's just really upsetting. You know to sit there and think how corrupt the system is and how flawed it is and the people that actually need help don't get it," Watson said.

And he says inmates don't need that help.

"They do get three meals a day. You know, I was incarcerated at one time but you know they don't [have to] worry about bills or paying electricity or paying rent! All of that's taken care of. And then, they're getting unemployment," Watson said.

The Workforce Commission needs your help with this. If you know of anyone helping an inmate get unemployment or any other sort of unemployment fraud, call their abuse hotline at 800-252-3642

TWC has launched a $450,000 program to help them prevent this sort of fraud by making a more accurate list of inmates statewide.

Over the past four years, $3.4 million in unemployment payments were given to Texans under lock and key, according to a Houston television station.

 

Documents provided by the Texas Workforce Commission show they investigated more than 1,700 cases of it during that time.

 

Texas Workforce Commission spokesperson Lisa Givens tells FOX 7, they do weekly cross matches with the Texas Department of Justice to prevent fraud.  But that's only for state prisons.

 

"What we're looking to enhance through our systems is to obtain information that's at county and local municipalities.  The federal information is not available to us, so we're strong advocates of trying to obtain that information," Givens said.

 

So how does something like this happen?

 

Givens says sometimes an inmate may be legally getting unemployment before being locked up and then they just keep requesting it from behind bars.

 

Some inmates may have someone on the outside getting it for them and then there's just plain ol' identity theft.

 

And it certainly doesn't help that these days unemployment funds are put on a debit card.

 

"When you have a paper check, it's a little bit easier to keep track of that and where that's going and whose signing that for instance," Givens said.

 

We asked some unemployed Austinites what they think about the situation.

 

Marquay Dunn isn't too angry.

 

"Oh man, that's a hard question.  I mean, anybody deserves money, so....I don't know," Dunn said.

 

Joseph Hernandez has just filed for unemployment himself.

 

"I'm a hard working person and I'm over here struggling while these people are corrupting the system and they're making money from corrupting the system.  I think I'm getting screwed here!  It's not right," Hernandez said.

 

Brian Watson is between jobs but his fiancé works so he says he would rather unemployment go to someone who really needs the money.

 

"It's just really upsetting.  You know to sit there and think how corrupt the system is and how flawed it is and the people that actually nee

Over the past four years, $3.4 million in unemployment payments were given to Texans under lock and key, according to a Houston television station.

Documents provided by the Texas Workforce Commission show they investigated more than 1,700 cases of it during that time.

Texas Workforce Commission spokesperson Lisa Givens tells FOX 7, they do weekly cross matches with the Texas Department of Justice to prevent fraud. But that's only for state prisons.

"What we're looking to enhance through our systems is to obtain information that's at county and local municipalities. The federal information is not available to us, so we're strong advocates of trying to obtain that information," Givens said.

So how does something like this happen?

Givens says sometimes an inmate may be legally getting unemployment before being locked up and then they just keep requesting it from behind bars.

Some inmates may have someone on the outside getting it for them and then there's just plain ol' identity theft.

And it certainly doesn't help that these days unemployment funds are put on a debit card.

"When you have a paper check, it's a little bit easier to keep track of that and where that's going and whose signing that for instance," Givens said.

We asked some unemployed Austinites what they think about the situation.

Marquay Dunn isn't too angry.

"Oh man, that's a hard question. I mean, anybody deserves money, so....I don't know," Dunn said.

Joseph Hernandez has just filed for unemployment himself.

"I'm a hard working person and I'm over here struggling while these people are corrupting the system and they're making money from corrupting the system. I think I'm getting screwed here! It's not right," Hernandez said.

Brian Watson is between jobs but his fiancé works so he says he would rather unemployment go to someone who really needs the money.

"It's just really upsetting. You know to sit there and think how corrupt the system is and how flawed it is and the people that actually need help don't get it," Watson said.

And he says inmates don't need that help.

"They do get three meals a day. You know, I was incarcerated at one time but you know they don't [have to] worry about bills or paying electricity or paying rent! All of that's taken care of. And then, they're getting unemployment," Watson said.

The Workforce Commission needs your help with this. If you know of anyone helping an inmate get unemployment or any other sort of unemployment fraud, call their abuse hotline at 800-252-3642

TWC has launched a $450,000 program to help them prevent this sort of fraud by making a more accurate list of inmates statewide.

d help don't get it," Watson said.

 

And he says inmates don't need that help.

 

"They do get three meals a day.  You know, I was incarcerated at one time but you know they don't [have to] worry about bills or paying electricity or paying rent!  All of that's taken care of.  And then, they're getting unemployment," Watson said.

 

The Workforce Commission needs your help with this.  If you know of anyone helping an inmate get unemployment or any other sort of unemployment fraud, call their abuse hotline at 800-252-3642

 

TWC has launched a $450,000 program to help them prevent this sort of fraud by making a more accurate list of inmates statewide. 

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