Thurston County Watch

A Yelm man reported an unauthorized $19,000 deposit in his bank account on Friday, June 12, that’s alleged to have originated from a fraudulent unemployment application filed in his name in Massachusetts. 

According to a report filed Friday with the Yelm Police Department, a 64-year-old Yelm man reported he’d received the deposit at about 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 9. 

The man told police that shortly after receiving the funds, he received an email from the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance notifying him that his unemployment application had been approved. 

He has reportedly never lived or worked in Massachusetts, nor had he filed for unemployment insurance. 

After reporting the incident to his bank, which subsequently closed the account to investigate, the Yelm resident was cautioned by the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance to file a report with the YPD. 

The man has not reported financial losses relating to the fraudulent claim and deposit. 

Assistant Yelm Police Chief Rob Carlson said his department has been getting about one case of fraudulent unemployment claims per week from residents. 

Carlson said filing a report with local law enforcement can be beneficial for the long term lifespan of the investigation, though state governments are generally better equipped to determine the source of such claims and retrieve funds.

A 63-year-old Yelm man on Monday, June 8, also reported a fraudulent claim for unemployment security filed with the Washington state Employment Security Department. 

The man reported that a person had used his Social Security number to file for unemployment benefits on a recent date. 

There is no suspect information for either case at this time. 

Employment Security Department Commissioner Suzi LeVine and ESD officials have reported that the total amount paid to a Nigerian fraud ring was between $550 million and $650 million, though they are still trying to determine the exact amount. About $330 million has reportedly been recovered.

For more information on if a fraudulent claim has been filed in your name or to report a case, visit www.esd.wa.gov. 

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