Legislature votes to reduce penalties for unemployment fraud

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LANSING, Mich. The Michigan Legislature has unanimously voted to cut high financial penalties for collecting excessive unemployment benefits while easing the ability for employers and claimants to report cases of identity theft.
The legislation was approved Wednesday and will soon reach Gov. Rick Snyder. The bills are a response to thousands of people being wrongly accused of fraudulently receiving benefits.
In many cases between 2013 and 2015, claimants did not commit fraud and were hit with interest along with penalties above the overpayment.
Under the legislation, first-time offenders who receive an overpayment under $500 would have to pay it back instead of being required to refund the overpayment plus a penalty equal to four times the amount that was improperly obtained. Large fines would stay in place for "impostor" claimants.