ORLANDO, Fla. – A DeBary Parks Department employee discovered his identity was being used to collect unemployment benefits after he won a $1,000 Gold Rush Supreme scratch-off prize last October.
Frank Jones, an employee with the city of DeBary since 2015, told News 6 he received a letter from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity indicating he had an overpayment that triggered a “debt balance” of more than $2,400.
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Jones was never furloughed from his job.
News 6 asked Jones to have the city’s Human Resource Department provide a letter that would confirm his story.
The letter read in part: “At no time did Mr. Jones experience a break in service or a reduction in hours.”
Jones said he had tried to contact the DEO to expose the fraud but an investigator never called.
“I begged them to just please lock my account down,” Jones said. “I’m in disbelief, I don’t know how they got my social security number.”
News 6 alerted the Department of Economic Opportunity and sent a copy of the letter confirming Jones’ uninterrupted work status to state investigators.
The DEO reviewed the case and agreed Jones had not collected benefits from the state.
In a text to News 6, a very happy Jones wrote: “They will be sending me the $1,000, I should have it in 4 to 6 weeks.”
The DEO continues to work with News 6 and Make Ends Meet to help Florida residents collect unemployment and Homeowner Assistance Funds, as well as correct overpayment mistakes.
If you have an unemployment issue email firstname.lastname@example.org or text the words make ends meet to 407-676-7428.
Remember to include the issue and any documents we can use to advocate on your behalf.
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