Almost 7,000 people filed fraudulent unemployment benefit claims in 2010, the Washington Employment Security Department said today.
The claims amounted to $14 million, up 56 percent from 2009. But the department recovered $11 million in claims from 2010 and prior years, spokesman Jamie Swift said.
Although he could not say whether the fraud was a record, he noted that extended benefits offered during the recession gave cheats an opportunity to collect more money before they were caught.
The fraudulent claims represent less than one-half percent of the total $4.6 billion in claims paid to more than 500,000 unemployed Washington workers in 2010.