Washington Investigators Bust Jobless Benefits Fraud Ring

OLYMPIA (AP) — State fraud investigators say they have busted out-of-state scammers who were collecting unemployment benefits from Washington.

The Employment Security Department says it has identified at least 54 people who improperly collected $400,000. They live in Montana, Texas, Louisiana and Florida.

A department spokeswoman, Hilary Young, says people like to collect benefits in Washington because the rates are higher than many other states.

Out-of-state people can collect benefits from Washington if they worked in the state.

A tip led investigators to check phone records and discover that several claims used the same cell phone number.

The investigation has recovered $40,000 and saved $200,000 from being paid.