Panel to consider stiffer penalties for unemployment fraud - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Panel to consider stiffer penalties for unemployment fraud

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- The Legislature's finance committee is expected consider plans to impose stiffer criminal and civil penalties for unemployment benefit fraud.

Right now penalties can include losing eligibility, a surcharge equal to 15 percent of the benefits erroneously paid, criminal fines ranging from $100 to $500 and up to 90 days in jail.

Gov. Scott Walker's budget calls for upping the surcharge to 40 percent of benefits erroneously paid and creating a scale of criminal penalties ranging from a $10,000 fine and up to nine months in jail to $25,000 in fines and up to five years in prison.

According to state data, fraudulent overpayments came to $20.5 million last year.

The finance committee is expected to consider the changes during a hearing Wednesday.

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