Gov. Asa Hutchinson

Gov. Asa Hutchinson (KATV)

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said on Tuesday that his information, along with the information of thousands of other residents, had been used to file fraudulent unemployment claims during the coronavirus pandemic.

During his daily COVID-19 briefing, the governor said he received a letter in the mail about an unemployment claim in his name that he obviously didn’t apply for. He said if anyone receives notice about a claim that they haven’t filed, their information has probably been used illegally.

Arkansas Secretary of Commerce Mike Preston said on Tuesday that there were 27,000 pandemic unemployment claims and 10,000 unemployment insurance claims that are on hold and being reviewed by the state for possible fraud.

“This is part of a national, even international, ring that is trying to defraud the system,” Preston said.

Officials asked those affected by false claims to file a police report. The FBI and local law enforcement are investigating. The state is sending verification emails to those who have claims on hold, Preston said. They will also be setting up verification booths across the state. Anyone with a claim on hold has been asked to visit the booths with their ID to verify their claims.

Continued unemployment claims are down to around 90,000, lower than the high of about 120,000 the department reported in May, Preston said.

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