Filers attempt to get illegal unemployment compensation

Posted by: Melissa McKinney - bio | email

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - "My job is to everyday get up and go find a job," says Randy Pate.

It's still hard for Pate to even admit he's out of work.

"It's just difficult. But God's going to see me through it," says Pate through tears.

He worked for a local home improvement store for 14 years and was just laid off a few days ago.

Now, he's filing for unemployment hoping what little he gets will go a long way.

"Utilities coming due, they've got to be paid. Medication, that's $300 dollars a month, and you're only going to make just a few hundred dollars, but when you got hospital bills, and you don't have a job, it's just rough on everybody."

Another harsh reality is knowing some who apply for help don't even deserve it.

"We've currently got about 3,000 prosecutable cases," says Tara Hutchison with the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations.

Hutchison says they've seen an increase in fraudulent cases where people apply for benefits even though they have a job.

"We want to make sure that everybody knows that our job here is to make sure those who actually deserve the benefits get them. And anyone who breaks the law, we will be prosecuting them," says Hutchison.

"I don't think it's fair. If you don't deserve it, you don't need to apply for it," says Pate.

But for folks like Pate who do, it's all about perseverance.

"Things will get better. Just have to take it one day at a time. Jobs are going to come, but you have to go out there and look for them."

If someone is found guilty of unemployment compensation fraud, they could wind up in jail and have to pay court costs, fines, and pay back all the money they stole through unemployment.

If you know someone guilty of unemployment compensation fraud you can call the Department of Industrial Relations hotline at 1-800-392-8019.

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