COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- Ohio officials want to send a clear message with tough new penalties against unemployment fraud: Don't do it.
Beginning Oct. 21, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services may impose fines of up to a quarter of the total amount of unemployment benefits an individual collects through fraud.
If an employer's repeated refusal to provide information about an unemployment compensation claimant results in erroneous benefits being paid, the employer could face penalties, too.
Current state law requires those who commit unemployment fraud to repay the amount to which they weren't entitled and to forgo benefits for a period of time. The most egregious cases can prompt criminal charges.
Most commonly, people defraud the system by collecting benefits while actually working or after they have returned to a job.