The Channel 4 I-Team has uncovered that 944 people, including inmates and possibly their families, are being investigated by the state for cashing in on unemployment checks.
A 2012 state law forbids anyone who is incarcerated for four days in a week's time from getting unemployment.
But a new tracking system found last week that 944 prisoners received unemployment checks worth a total of $1.06 million.
"Wow. That's crazy. People getting checks in jail? That's crazy," said Nathan Haynes, who is currently looking for a job.
The state department of labor is investigating if the inmates, in jails and in prisons, had people on the outside who used their personal information to register for unemployment benefits, even after they were incarcerated.
"These are people wanting to work the system, right?" asked chief investigative reporter Jeremy Finley.
"Basically, yes," said Dr. Turner Nashe Jr., state department of labor assistant administrator for the employment security division.
"A million dollars is a lot of money, and if it's going out the door, we want to get it back," Nashe said.
"I think they should find them as soon as possible and get all the checks back," Haynes said.
"If there is someone who is an inmate that's trying to fraud the system, then I think they should be pulled to the side and it should stop. Because there are people like me, I'm not trying to fraud the system and I actually need this to survive," said Charity Everett, who is receiving unemployment benefits.
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