Lawsuit filed against NM Workforce Solutions alleging false fraud claims
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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Just a few months ago, New Mexico Legal Aid was celebrating its win over New Mexico Department of Workforce Solutions.
Back in 2020, it helped seven New Mexicans get the unemployment benefits they were denied.
Now, several people have come forward after KOB 4 reported on the original lawsuit for the same issue.
Alicia Clark, with New Mexico Legal Aid, said most of the plaintiffs in both lawsuits were never notified of the “fraud” that disqualified them from aid; they just got denied or canceled without any explanation.
“For many years, the department has not been mailing people notices, they really just upload them on their online UI claims account and people don’t really know to look there,” Clark said.
Mike Cochrane, one of the current plaintiffs, said this time around, he’s trying to get the benefits back, but just can’t.
“I thought everything was fine, I was never notified of a fraud determination. I’ve never received a letter for fraud,” he said.
Clark said the window of time the Workforce Solutions can hold a fraud claim on someone’s record is one year after the fraud but, in Mike’s case, that was six years ago — well past what the statute says.
“It’s the exact same issue and we filed the second suit because the department is continuing to illegally apply the fraud penalty provision in the state statute,” Clark said.
For Mike and the other plaintiffs, they hope this lawsuit will put the drawn-out battle for unemployment benefits to rest.
Clarks said they expect this lawsuit to move a little faster than the original lawsuit – and that the statute is still the same and Workforce Solutions keeps trying to keep the fraud claims on records indefinitely, rather than for the one year stated.