SC unemployment agency wants to charge penalty

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by The Associated Press

WCNC.com

Posted on February 6, 2013 at 7:43 PM

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) -- South Carolina's unemployment agency wants to charge anyone who fraudulently receives unemployment benefits a 25 percent penalty, in addition to paying the money back. 

Department of Employment and Workforce officials asked a Senate panel Wednesday for legislation that mandates a penalty higher than federal law requires. 

Agency attorney Maura Dawson says Congress has required states to pass by October a law setting at least a 15 percent penalty. She says her agency would use the additional money for technology updates and to investigate and prosecute cases of unemployment fraud. 

According to the agency, it recouped $9.2 million in overpayments between January and May of last year. 

The federal labor department says 4 percent of South Carolina's payments were due to fraud in 2012, down from 7 percent in 2011. 
 

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