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Feds getting involved in Michigan unemployment agency issues

Posted at 5:26 PM, May 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-06 22:24:27-04

DETROIT, Mich. - Our FOX 17 Problem Solvers investigation into the state's unemployment insurance agency is getting federal attention.

U.S. Representative Sander Levin is demanding the state respond to the thousands of people who have falsely been accused of fraud.

Alleged victims and attorneys with the Sugar Law Center joined Rep. Levin outside Detroit's Cadillac Place, where Governor Rick Snyder has an office.  Levin is calling on Gov. Snyder to investigate the thousands of potentially false fraud accusations levied against citizens who signed up for benefits and to refund those who had wages and tax returns wrongfully garnished.

A state audit showed that the majority of cases that went before a judge weren't fraud at all. An automated system known as MiDAS has come under fire for making decisions without human involvement. FOX 17 has been telling these stories for over a year now.

"You guys helped to unearth this," Levin told FOX 17 Problem Solver Darren Cunningham. "I think now the pressure is so much that the state is going to have to respond.  The federal government is into this now full blast."

The congressman wrote a letter to Snyder about the issue last week.  Levin said Snyder didn't respond, but Talent Investment Agency director Stephanie Comai did, saying:

The UIA has been in communication with the U.S. Department of Labor regarding the review of auto-adjudicated cases...and is finalizing details of the plan.  The agency has already initiated the review.  Where it is determined that an individual does not owe restitution, refunds will be issued.  We always want to make sure people are treated fairly.

Levin said is the state doesn't step up, Congress will.