Detroit woman charged in $2 million unemployment fraud scheme

Brandi Hawkins worked for unemployment insurance agency

Generic image of police lights. (pixabay)

DETROIT – A Detroit woman has been charged for her alleged role in a multi-million dollar unemployment insurance fraud scheme, according to officials.

Officials said the scheme was aimed at defrauding the State of Michigan and the U.S. Government of funds meant for unemployment assistance during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

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Brandi Hawkins, 39, was a contract employee for the State of Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency. She was involved in the reviewing, processing and verifying the legitimacy of unemployment insurance claims.

In April of 2020, she’s accused of using her access to fraudulently release payment on hundreds of fraudulent claims. More than $2,000,000 of federal and state funds intended for unemployment assistance during the pandemic were fraudulently released.

READ: Michigan investigating if new hires are stealing from Unemployment Insurance Agency

More than $200,000 in cash was found at her residence by police.

“Brandi Hawkins is charged with exploiting the current pandemic to defraud the State of Michigan and United States for her own personal gain. These are serious allegations, and my office is committed to prosecuting any person who attempts to use the Covid-19 crisis to defraud the people of Michigan,” stated US Attorney Matthew Schneider.

Click here to read the full statement from officials.