USA: Lear Corporation workers in Michigan found guilty of unemployment insurance fraud

By just-auto.com editorial team | 11 August 2005

Eleven Lear Corporation workers in western Michigan have been found guilty of unemployment insurance fraud for collecting more than $US100,000 in benefits to which they were not entitled.

Twenty-nine others face "strong action" from the state's Unemployment Insurance Agency (UIA).

"All of these workers were employed by the Lear Corporation in the Grand Rapids area," UIA Director Sharon Bommarito said, "and all 40 collected unemployment benefits while working full-time, which is not allowed under the state's unemployment insurance (UI) law."

The 11 fraudulently collected between $US5,405 and $16,523 each in state jobless benefits. All have to repay the benefits they received and face fines, court costs and community service. The agency has started to receive some restitution payments from the 11, totaling more than $3,400.

The 29 other cases involved smaller amounts of money ranging from $181 to $4,433.

Bommarito said that the plan to defraud the agency began after periodic layoffs at Lear that typically occur in January and July.  Employees would file for unemployment benefits during the layoffs.  In these cases, however, the workers continued to claim unemployment benefits after the layoffs had ended, and they were back at work.

A call to UIA's fraud hotline brought the plan to the attention of agency fraud investigators.

Bommarito said the agency worked closely with Lear throughout the investigation.