KENNEWICK, Wash;--I spoke with officials from the Employment Security Department today, who told me employment fraud isn't a new idea, but that more incidents this year is definitely a sign of the times.
I was also told that employment fraud is a double edged sword. People claiming unemployment who don't qualify, and employers who save tax money by not reporting employees.
False unemployment benefits added up to $10 million just last year, and nearly 7,700 workers were paid under the table to avoid higher taxes.
"Right now times are tough. Maybe some of these employers are trying to save money so they didn't record those employees," says Jamie Swift of the Employment Security Department. "Right now the economy is in fairly bad shape and that's why it's important for us to be out there doing our job and tracking down those that aren't reporting."
Swift says if you know anyone involved in either of these types of fraud it is important to report it to the employment security department.