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October 9, 2015

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Audit: Prisoners in Nevada may have collected $5 million in unemployment benefits

CARSON CITY — The state may have paid up to $5 million in unemployment benefits to inmates in prison or county jails in the last three years, a legislative audit says.

The report said an examination of records of the state Employment Security Division found 67 inmates illegally received a total of $240,000 in benefits in fiscal 2012.

The report, presented by Deputy Legislative Auditor Dan Crossman on Thursday, also detailed instances in which payments were made to people who had died or gone back to work.

Assembly Minority Leader Pat Hickey said a “lot of people are good at gaming the system.”

The report, presented to the Legislative Audit Committee, estimates “the amount of unemployment benefits that may have been paid to incarcerated individuals to be as much as $5 million over the past three years.” In eight cases, inmates used stolen Social Security information to get checks.

In one case, the audit found, two inmates in state prison for more than a year collected a combined $53,489.

Kelly Karch, deputy administrator of the Employment Security Division, said new security measures are being put in place to weed out fraud.

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