by J.D. Davidson
Ohio continues to add resources to a public-private partnership to combat unemployment fraud, which the state says has cost taxpayers more than $200 million, and the newest additions are a pair of big names.
Gov. Mike DeWine announced recently a new agreement between the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services and Google to conduct data analytics on all outstanding claims. The state will pay the tech company $1.4 million to use Google Analytics to help discover fraud.
“This is one of the first things the private sector group told me when they came in is drilling down on this data and doing it in a very sophisticated way,” DeWine said.
The idea is Google can leverage a large number of data points searching for patterns of fraud and pull those suspected claims. That should allow the state to prioritize legitimate claims and process them more quickly, DeWine said.
Google is the fourth large company to become part of the partnership to help reduce fraud, joining IBM, Experian and LexisNexis.
Former U.S. District Attorney David DeVillers also has joined the partnership as the law enforcement subject matter expert. DeVillers, who will be a liaison between the department and local, state and federal law enforcement, served as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Ohio from November 2019 until the end of last month.
“He has a unique background in complex investigations and a background in dealing with matters with international components,” DeWine said.
DeVillers led the U.S. Attorney’s office during the investigation and eventual indictment of former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder in a $60 million bribery and racketeering scandal involving the state’s nuclear bailout bill, House Bill 6.
The indictments led to Householder’s removal as speaker and several changes to HB 6, including the end of planned ratepayer increase that was scheduled to go into effect at the beginning of this year.
– – –
An Ohio native, J.D. Davidson is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience in newspapers in Ohio, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. He has served as a reporter, editor, managing editor and publisher. He is regional editor for The Center Square.