Comments for: Maine labor comissioner pledges fast implementation of new unemployment fraud law

Posted April 18, 2012, at 6 p.m.
Last modified April 19, 2012, at 6:40 a.m.

AUGUSTA | Labor Commissioner Robert Winglass says his agency is gearing up to implement the new law on unemployment fraud, expressing his belief that fraud is worse than many believe. “I think there are more than perhaps are being credited, more people who are abusing the system,” he said …

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  • Anonymous

     Schlobohm is the fraud here. I worked all winter with two guys who were gaming the system. That’s two out of three folks on the job, a random sample, albeit, a small sample. Perhaps the gov out to focus on getting us to a right to work state and more jobs would become available. Works just fine elsewhere, although the unionists wouldn’t get such a high contribution to their political smear campaigns or pension funds. Wah wah…….

    • Here is what that statistics show.  The 23 states with right to work laws have an average unemployment rate of 7.3 with a standard deviation of 2.1.  The 27 states without “right to work” have an average unemployment rate of 7.6 and a standard deviation of 1.4 which means they don’t have as much variation in unemployment rates.  The median for both groups of states is 7.6, no difference. 

      Among the right to work states are North Dakota with its low unemployment rate (3.1%) because of oil and Nevada with the top unemployment rate at 12.3% (reliance on the gambling industry, not good in a recession).  It looks like right to work has very little impact on the unemployment rate.

      • I forgot this part.  Maine’s unemployment rate is 7.1%.  Twenty-eight states have a higher unemployment rate.  Nineteen states have a lower rate, and Maine is tied with Texas and Alaska.

        • Anonymous

          In job creation, Maine is LAST.

        • Anonymous

          Maine has been pretty flat during the recession, but when the recovery finally comes, we’ll still be in the 7s.  Pitiful.

          Maine simply doesn’t attact jobs.  It spends its days saying, “I’d rather have no job than (fill in the blank).”

    • Anonymous

      For goodness sake, why didn’t you turn them in?  There’s a toll free number to call.  You don’t even have to give your name.

      Stop complaining and start doing.

      As a liberal who supports programs that help the less fortunate I think anyone gaming the system or committing fraud is lowest of the low. 

      And those who know about it and do nothing are close behind them.

      • That’s kind of a conservative paradox.  Complain because the government doesn’t do anything about “it” and complain because the government is too big.  Bunch of whiners.

        • Anonymous

          Good point.  I want a smaller government, but I want it to deal with this kind of fraud as one of its few, appropriate roles.

      • Anonymous

        I see this question about turning people in and I recoil every time I think of actually calling that 800 number to turn someone in. I think to most conservatives, it is distasteful to turn someone in to the government. Most conservatives want people to follow the rules because it is the right thing to do. It’s about personal responsibility.

        What they want from the government is responsibility as well. Officials at the unemployment office should not be allowed to give unemployment to someone who is not really unemployed. It is their job to check on this, and ask the right questions, not to look the other way with a wink. If being chronically “seasonally unemployed” with the same company is legal, then it shouldn’t be. It’s not legal for teachers, and they face lack of employment every summer.

        People should not look at the government as a giant pocketbook for them to reach into. One way to curb that impulse is to cut back on the amount available in the pocketbook to make it look less tempting.

        It is sad to think of this country being full of people gaming the system along with people who are more than happy to turn others in to authorities. As many liberals on here rightly point out: are you sure someone is being dishonest? Maybe you don’t know all the facts of their situation. You turn them in, and suddenly their life gets torn apart, maybe something gets found, maybe not–but they have been treated as guilty either way.

        • Anonymous

          I, a liberal, also find it distasteful to turn someone in.  I too want people to follow the rules because it’s the right thing to do.  But if I see you robbing a bank, I’m turning you in.  If I see you shoplifting, I’m turning you in.  If I see you stealing from the state unemployment fund, I’m turning you in.  It’s my civic duty.
           
          I think the conservatives you describe have and want little connection to our community.  They don’t want to pay taxes; they don’t want to help enforce the laws; they just want to make themselves feel superior by complaining about all the imaginary cheats and crooks they think they see.  They feel no civic duty for themselves, just everyone else.
           
          You imagine that people who interview unemployment applicants are in cahoots with cheaters and are purposely handing out money to people who are not really unemployed?  What a strange imaginary world you live in.

    • Anonymous

       That’s not a “sample”, it’s an anecdote.  As a statistic, it’s useless.  Right to Work states don’t have more jobs than Free Bargaining states, but they do have lower income (http://umaine.edu/ble/files/2011/01/RighttoWork_Laws.pdf).
      Also, you participated in the fraud by not calling the Dept. of Labor and reporting the fraud.   Although your co-workers were the ones perpetrating the fraud, they couldn’t do it without your help.

  • Anonymous

    Right to work=Right to unemployment.

    • Here are some more statistics.  The median family income in right to work states weighted by population is $46,400.  In the states without “right to work” laws, the median family income is $54,700.  Right to work states “enjoy” a median family income of $8300 less. 

      The unemployment rate in “right to work” states weighted by population is 7.9%.  In states without right to work legislation, the weighted unemployment rate is 8.5%. 

      So there is your trade off.  Right to work means lower family income and slightly lower unemployment rates.  Is that what Maine wants? 

      Maine’s median family income is about $46,000 and the unemployment rate is about 7.1%.

  • Anonymous

    We had better get busy building new court houses and jails so that we will be prepared for all of the fraud that will be uncovered and prosecuted. To hear the republicans tell it there is fraud everywhere so we had probably better hire and train new court personnel as well. 

    • Anonymous

      Too bad they don’t start at the top–like looking in the present administration

  • Anonymous

    Good old LePage. It’s SO much more newsworthy to attack tiny instances of fraud than to actually increase job opportunities for Mainers.

    •  Sure. Just like the overspending at MSHA, the MTA, the Maine Bond Bank, the welfare fraud at DHHS, and all the other instances of waste, and abuse of public money. Keep telling yourself there’s no unemployment fraud, just like the supposed non-existent welfare fraud.

  • Anonymous

     Keep up the good work Governor.

     We may get this train back on the right tracks.

  • Anonymous

    “Somewhere under our bed hides a monsterfraud. It just has to be true, and if we look long enough we’ll see it – are you with me Hobbes?” – Calvin.

  • Anonymous

    Robert Winglass, since you are the Labor Commisioner, maybe you could answer a question I have.
    Governor LePage has made the claim that there are over 20,000 high skill jobs going unfilled in Maine. He has never listed where these jobs are, what skills Mainers lack, how to attain those skills, what they pay.

    I think if these jobs existed and Governor LePage would like them filled with Maine workers, it would be beneficial to supply the key information to the people of Maine that would love to have these jobs.

    • Me thinks we’ve heard the first challange from a Candidate for Paulie’s job. I, for one am highly impressed that someone finally asked the ‘800 lbs gorilla in the room’ question. What’s so embarassing for Maine is that it took this long for someone to ask it. Cutler, King, Dill, Raye, Nutting all have yet to ask these simple question’s, much less answer them. Time to ‘pony up’ folks !!!

      • Anonymous

        LOL, I hate to wear suits and am much cruder at times than Governor LePage. The people I would insult have much more money than LePages targets. Besides I only have one suit and it’s way too small;)

  • Anonymous

    Bob Nutting got  away with HOW MUCH?

    •  Not nearly as much as  the lib’s and their Green fiasco’s.

  • Anonymous

    There is work to be done in this state. Law enforcement should be beefed up because of drug infusion . Cash registers are stolen right off counters. Home invasions, stealing copper, shootings. These are the real crimes. Unemplyment fraud shoud be addressed.  It has always been there and is a crime too. Priority  must be placed on violent crimes.

    • Anonymous

      Great Idea, LePage’s Fascist Police State.

      • Anonymous

        I guess you are right he shouldn’t have too many police. I meant the priority should be on bigger crimes.

  • Anonymous

    Good job.

  • RockyGMarshall

    Any takers on this question?
    Say we have a guy, he gets  a job in the spring and works til about  November or so.He makes pretty good money, between  $20 -$30 per hour and he works a ton of hours. He then gets laid off and collects unemployment til spring,roughly 5 months. Say this guy  does this every year for  20 years, every year he knows this will be the situation, when he takes the job and when he is laid off. He knows what position he will fill and retains his “seniority ” that his many years of doing this has earned him. My question is,is this fraud?

    • Guest

      Sounds like a seasonal worker.

      •  Maybe, but is it fraud? Milking the system? Most importantly, is it  right, should we be paying  for this?

        • Guest

          I suppose that is up to interpretation but is it against the law? If a person has a job where they are laid off for a few months a year until they return to the job, why shouldn’t they collect their unemployment?
          There are school bus drivers and over the road truck drivers who fit that bill.

          • Anonymous

            Teachers fit the bill of “seasonal employment” as well. Should they collect unemployment for those summer vacation months? Of course not, because we all know they are not being laid off. This guy knows he has a job to go back to in the spring. He should be budgeting his money to last the entire year–or he should plan on getting an off-season job.

            So, my answer to the original question is: if it isn’t fraud, it should be.

          • Guest

            Teachers receive a salary, truck driver’s and school bus drivers don’t. They aren’t doing anything fraudulent. It isn’t against the law and it shouldn’t be. They have jobs to return to.

          • So, even if they are collecting  Unemployment for 5 months of every year, and even if they make 30-40k a year plus the maxed out benefits every year , do you still think this is ok?

          • Guest

             Who is making 30-40K a year? 

          •  Just an example I threw out there. It happens to be an  accurate  example of what  hundreds ,or more, folks in Maine are doing every year.

          • Anonymous

            well get a law pass 

          • 4-5 months is more than a few, and it’s every year.

      • Anonymous

        Agreed

    • Anonymous

      I know a couple that does the exact same thing, collects Maine unemployment in the winter while living in Florida……Just like clock work..

      • Anonymous

        AS long as they are looking for work there’s nothing you can do about it

        •  Is that really your answer? As long as they can play the system, your out of luck. Just shaking my head,again.

    • Anonymous

      No its not fraud at all its all leagle

    • Anonymous

      Sounds like a construction worker. Most of them don’t get pension plans and quite a few don’t get health benefits. $20 – $30 per hour gets eaten up pretty quickly when you are on the road away from home buying your meals, paying health insurance, laying away a few bucks for retirement. Now if we could just replace all these American construction workers with illegal aliens this problem would go away.

      • Or they could plan ahead, live within their means  or find   even a part time job in the off months. They might even, dare I say, declare the money that they make under the table. The point is,  they should not, in my view, be milking the system so they can snowmobile and ice fish all winter, all the while making more money than most of their neighbors.

        • Guest

          Most of those guys work very long, hard hours.

          What will their job history look like if they continually get jobs in their off season, quit and go back to their construction jobs that pay them the best? 
          Wouldn’t that wreak havoc on their job history?

  • Anonymous

    Maybe this is a Novel Idea to you LePage Drone Appointees  but where are the jobs that LePage lied about 14 months ago? You would think that since Maine is in LAST PLACE among all the states, even worse then Mississippi for jobs, perhaps job creation would be your first priority? So I ask again, where are the JOBS ? Your LAME sign on 95 just don’t cut it.

  • Guest

    This administration is obsessed with witch hunting.

    • Anonymous

      I don’t consider cleaning up fraud witch hunting…….
      Breaking the law is breaking the law..
      No matter who does it..

      • Guest

        And no matter how much it may cost $$$ in investigating and prosecuting.. to find how many? If their is massive fraud why isn’t it clearly evident?

        • Anonymous

          Then why have police?

          • Guest

            “I think there are more than perhaps are being credited, more people who are abusing the system,” he said in an interview. “We will soon determine if that is true or not.”
            ——-
            Are the police going to investigate these possible cases?

    • Tell that to Paul Violette, when he reports to prison in return for scamming $430K from Maine toll payers.

  • Anonymous

    Sounds like this Mr. Lepage administration is doing some spring cleaning.

  • Anonymous

    As regards unemployment fraud, what about the other side of the problem? What about such things as age discrimination for people over 55 who are qualified for a position but are deemed as too old or are “over qualified” for the position, and are not even afforded a reply to their application or resume because this type of discrimination is “illegal”. I’ve had this happen on more than one occassion, but couldn’t prove it because no one would come right out and admit it. Investigate that.

  • Anonymous

    This is great news. All you slackers better either hide or come out fighting. Enough is enough. Go get ’em LePage. Local people can probably help the state identify their town deadbeats.

    • Anonymous

      Yeah,
      Kind of like the Polish turned over their Jews to the Germans, you guys are unreal!

    • Guest

      and deliver them into the hand of the king  who will execute cruelty over them….
      (don’t forget the brown shirt)

  • Superuser23

    I have said it once before, this administration is obsessed with fraud. I know someone who was accused of such in the unemployment system for a simple typo, yes folks a typo, a common mistake one can make. In the end that person spent 6 months having no benefits and fighting the system with a legal definition of what fraud was, after 6 months the Insurance Commission finally dismissed the claim and stated there was not enough evidence to accuse fraud. Simply put, like the “Computer glitch” it is ironic that when the administration starts talking fraud, then it is pointed out that it is not as big of a problem as it is and then suddenly someone is accused of it over a typo, it is like they wanted to find a way to have those numbers higher to get another bill passed. I do believe that was part of the motivation however and I am sure there may have been others in recent cases been accused of such and really didn’t do it. I think the administration hates being proven wrong and will find and do anything to make the numbers in their favor to warrant what they want accomplished on LePages personal agenda, not the agenda for the citizens of this state.

  • Guest

    ^^^^ “Should we try to get rid of what little fraud we have? Of course we should,” he said in an interview. “But we should be focusing the major effort on how to find the 100,000 Mainers who want a job a job to go to every day. That should be the focus, not fraud that really is not a
    problem.”
    —————

    It’s the economy, people needs jobs not persecution.

    • Nobody should be allowed to claim benefits fraudulently. It’ s illegal, and it uses up monetary resources needed by those who truly deserve benefits. Such fraud also costs employers more money, overall. The new emphasis by the MDOL in rooting out fraud and waste is commendable, and long overdue.

  • Anonymous

    What legislation is Mr. Schlobohm proposing? Is there a law that can force people to
    work?

    Although many of the unemployed cannot find a job there those
    who choose not to work as long as they can live off the system. Most of us have met
    them and they know who they are. 

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