LANSING, Mich. (Great Lakes News) – An audit uncovered $3.9 billion in Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA) fraudulent payments to 347,000 Michigan claimants.

The audit reported the money will likely not be returned from the claimants to the state “because the improper payments were the UIA’s fault.”

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The UIA has been under increased scrutiny during the past year-and-a-half. Slow payouts to claimants out of work because of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s COVID-19 lockdowns along with former director Steve Gray’s abrupt departure in November 2020 and his subsequent severance agreement have added to the departments’ woes.

Last month, Gov. Whitmer named Julia Dale as head of the UIA, replacing Liza Estlund Olsen.

“[This is] inexcusable,” said Rich Studley, CEO of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce. “It is a slap in the face to every unemployed worker, and it’s a kick in the teeth to every employer in the state that pays unemployment insurance taxes to the state’s unemployment insurance trust fund.”