Grand Haven man won unemployment hearing a year ago; garnished taxes never returned

Posted at 8:10 PM, Jul 29, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-29 20:47:06-04

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. -- Don Berens said he filed for unemployment benefits in January 2010 after being laid off. He said he collected $4,500 before finding another job.

In 2012, he said he got a bill from the Unemployment Insurance Agency. The agency and its computer system accused him of fraud and demanded he pay the $4,500 back plus interest. Despite his protests, the state took his tax return for the year 2012 and 2013 -- $556 total.

In July 2014, he finally had a phone hearing with a judge and won. According to the judgement, the agency was a no show. Berens said his former employer called the line and backed him up.

Despite winning the case, Berens said he still hasn't received the money from the state. So he and his wife, Kerry, reached out to the FOX 17 Problem Solvers for help.

"“We’re hoping to get our money back and maybe to get them to understand they’re stealing from the public," Don Berens said.

Kerry Berens said, "There's something wrong with the system for unemployment. If everyone's getting letters saying it's fraud. Ya know, a computer can't decide if it's fraud. People need to look at these cases."​

Watch the video for more

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