Wednesday, U.S. Senate candidate Josh Mandel (R) called on Ohio Republican Governor Mike DeWine to remove all COVID mandates and re-open businesses 100 percent. “Mike DeWine and Amy Acton have done a horrible job handling the COVID response and completely trampled on the freedoms, liberties, and livelihoods of everyday Ohioans. Today I call for Ohio to fully re-open and allow Ohioans to get back to work, get their kids back to school, and remove our statewide mask mandate,” Mandel said.
Scammers took nearly all of the $330 million in reported improper payments the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services made with Pandemic Unemployment Assistance funds, Director Kimberly Henderson said earlier this month. That amount was funneled, in part, through 56,000 fake claims which were identified in December. There were also overpayments on legitimate claims.
But there may be more fraud – much more – that is not yet reported.
Whether the $330 million is from misappropriation that happened in December alone, or is a pile of results spanning several months, is unknown. Henderson said total losses will likely be pinpointed at the end of February.
“They should be able to pinpoint the amount weekly, or monthly,” said Ohio State Representative Derek Merrin (R-Monclova). He continued, “we need to get checks and balances in place to ensure money isn’t stolen in the first place.”
One Ohio State Senator told The Ohio Star the Director has signaled to him that the amount of money lost in ODJFS processing is likely in the ballpark of $1B.
The Ohio House unanimously passed House Bill 614 on Thursday, which seeks to reform the state’s unemployment compensation system.
In the bill proposed by state Reps. Mark Fraizer (R-Newark) and Tracy Richardson (R-Marysville), it looks to modernize a system that was not prepared for the onslaught of unemployment claims this year.