Fraud claim not investigated, furloughed worker left puzzled as to why
BATON ROUGE - In July, Drew Enlund learned he had become a victim of identity theft and a fraudulent claim for unemployment benefits was filed under his name and social security number.
"The CFO of my organization contacted me and asked if I had applied for unemployment insurance, and of course I hadn't," he said.
Enlund says his human resources department flagged the paperwork as fraudulent and returned it to the Louisiana Workforce Commission. Likewise, Enlund also contacted credit agencies, the FCC, filed a police report, and also contacted the Louisiana Workforce Commission.
"I called them to let them know there was a fraudulent claim under my social security number and that was the last I heard of them," he said.
Around that time he received a bank card in the mail with his name on it, which he found out was connected to a fraudulent bank account.
A few weeks later, Enlund was furloughed and needed to file a legitimate unemployment claim to collect benefits. Enlund says the claim was approved, but all his benefits were directly deposited into the fraudulent bank account associated with the original claim made by the fraudster.
"So when the payments started coming in for unemployment insurance, it was deposited into a fraudulent bank account," he said.
Enlund hasn't received a dime of that unemployment money. He says he has spent weeks trying to speak with someone at the Louisiana Workforce Commission with no response. Last week he contacted 2 On Your Side. Soon after, Enlund took a call from the fraud and identity theft investigation department at the LWC.
"I was told that there was a worker that did not follow protocol," he said.
On that call, Enlund learned that while the fictitious claim had been flagged for fraud, it was never investigated by the LWC.
In response to 2 On Your Side's inquiry about the fraudulent claim, the LWC provided the following statement.
We have reached out to Mr. Enlund and are in the process of resolving his issues. As you know, we are bound by confidentiality laws and cannot discuss the specifics of this claim. Rest assured, the claim is currently being reviewed by appropriate unemployment insurance staff.
When asked whether Enlund's case was ever investigated when the initial claim was flagged for fraud, the LWC did not respond.
Thankfully, Enlund went back to work in November, but his benefits during the time when he was furloughed still have not been awarded to him.
"It's frustrating to say the least," he said. "There's got to be millions upon millions of dollars of fraud in this state alone."
Enlund only wishes his case would have been followed up on sooner. In order to receive his unemployment benefits, Enlund must refile. He says he's owed a couple thousand dollars in benefits from the time he was furloughed.