Florida job recruiter receives second batch of phantom unemployment claims

‘We don’t know who they are,’ We Hire LLC, a South Daytona company says

When We Hire LLC contacted WKMG-TV in 2021, the South Daytona company was sorting through more than 20 unemployment claims filed by people who never worked for the company.

SOUTH DAYTONA, Fla. – When We Hire LLC contacted WKMG-TV in 2021, the South Daytona company was sorting through more than 20 unemployment claims filed by people who never worked for the company.

The Department of Economic Opportunity contacted the employment placement company to confirm or reject the benefits requests.

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Each request was rejected.

Co-owner Michelle Brown told News 6 the company has a three-member staff: Her husband William, a receptionist and her.

We Hire LLC is the name used for their franchise, Express Employment Professionals.

There are 800 of these franchises operating in the United States and employees are paid by the home office in Oklahoma. The unemployment insurance is also paid by the home office.

Starting on July 1, Brown said the DEO notices of unemployment claims were starting to show up online and in the mail with a time sensitive deadline.

“I’m getting notices that are 10 days after they’re mailed and I’m only allowed 20 days to respond,” Brown said. “I’m not able to defend myself. I’m going into battle unarmed.”

Brown said the disadvantage is predicated on the DEO rejection form.

The current protocol requires the full Social Security number of each applicant the company disputes.

Brown told News 6 that creates a Catch-22 because without that information she was unable to proceed.

“If I don’t know who they are, how would I have their Social Security number?” she asked. “As a business, I’m limited on my ability to respond. The DEO doesn’t make it easy.”

Make Ends Meet contacted the DEO to present Brown’s dilemma.

A member of the reemployment team contacted Brown directly and helped her adjust the response online to get the benefits rejections on the record.

Still, the mystery remains as to why these men and women are filing claims to a company they never worked for.

Brown told News 6 one applicant said We Hire LLC was the only option when she tried to file an unemployment claim with Express Employment Professionals.

News 6 contacted the woman and she confirmed that is how the online application was set up.

DEO Press Secretary Leigh McGowan told News 6 the reemployment team “is working with Ms. Brown to assist her through the fraud reporting process, and we will make sure she is not charged for any fraudulent or misfiled claims.”

It is important to note that having a full Social Security number for a claimant is not required to report fraud. If an employer believes that a claimant did not work for them and the employer does not have a full Social Security number, then they should visit the Reemployment Assistance Help Center to report fraud.

If you have an unemployment issue, email makeendsmeet@wkmg.com or text the words “Make Ends Meet” to 407-676-7428.

Remember to include a screenshot of your DEO account, claimant number and monetary status.

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About the Author:

News 6’s Emmy Award-winning Investigative Reporter Mike Holfeld has made Central Florida history with major investigations that have led to new policies, legislative proposals and even -- state and national laws. If you have an issue or story idea, call Mike's office at 407-521-1322.