Cheating on rise for jobless pay in N.C.

As unemployment rises, state investigators say there's a sharp increase in the number of people cheating the system for unemployment benefits.

There were 5,044 fraudulent overpayments worth more than $13.3million last year, up 13percent from the year before and 24percent from 2004, state data show. The state recovered only about half of the money last year.

Over the past five years, the state estimates it has paid nearly $52.7million in fraudulent benefit payments and recovered $26.5 million.

And as the number of people receiving benefit payments has more then doubled in the past few years to more than 230,000, the number of fraud investigators has stayed steady. The N.C. Employment Security Commission has 22 fraud investigators across the state, the same number as five years ago, state officials said.

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