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State Supreme Court to hear case involving thousands of Michigan residents falsely accused of fraud

Michael Erwine

The Michigan Supreme Court announced this weekend it will take a case involving as many as 40 thousand unemployment insurance claimants falsely accused of fraud.

The state unemployment insurance agency falsely accused thousands of unemployment insurance claimants of fraud after switching to a computer program which automatically reviewed applications. An internal review found the program falsely accused people of fraud in 93 percent of cases.

Jennifer Lord is an attorney for the claimants. She said the state has refunded roughly 20 million, and that she said, is a drop in the bucket.

“There is between 80 - 100 million dollars that were actually taken from these people.”

Lord said claimants are also due damages.

“We’re not only asking for full refunds we know that thousands of people were forced to declare bankruptcy because of this insurmountable debt, people lost their homes, I’ve talked to people who lost custody of their children.”

Lord said the state is arguing her case was filed too long after the alleged harm and should be dismissed.

“The court of appeals said all these people were harmed when they got a letter in the mail telling them their money would be taken from them. Our argument is that’s ridiculous, these people were harmed when their money was taken from them. Period.”

Both parties have to submit supplemental briefs within 42 days.

A representative for the Governor’s office said they will not comment on pending litigation.