noticeable to me. You know, you deal with that information. I deal with the fact that I have unemployed carpenters. But I just wanted to let the Council know that you guys are calling a lot about my guys.
Sartain:Good morning. This is Connie Sartain, Council Member in Las Vegas today. I have a question. Based on the fraud that you have identified, is there a percentage, a recovery rate that you do get back a certain rate?
Zuelke:Thank you, Connie. We do recover a certain amount of fraud. The issues that we encounter with recovery of benefits under the fraud program, there are multiple issues that we anticipate in addressing during the 2009 legislature. One of the issues that we encounter is that the individual can only be disqualified after receiving benefits in a fraudulent situation for a period up to a year. In a subsequent benefit year we frequently discover that they are offsetting previous fraud overpayments by committing additional fraud. I have been in communication with Ms. Jones. We are discussing the resolution to that. We currently utilize Nevada Revised Statutes 612.445 as a method to disqualify these individuals. This law allows us only to disqualify the individual for up to 52 weeks. At the end of that period of time, that individual is free to come back in and file a new claim. Well, preferably they’re going to file legitimately and honestly. But a case that I discussed with Ms. Jones, we have an individual who has filed for six different benefit years and has committed at least a level of fraud in each of those six different benefit years. We cannot exclude this individual from the system. So we will be addressing this. Our recovery is further hampered by the fact that we have not yet begun to take any proactive measures other than sending these individuals billing notices. We have discussed and are reviewing the potential, which was provided for under Nevada Revised Statutes of initiating wage garnishments. Now, there are some questions that arise there such as political palatability of such a function. At what point is it cost effective to do so and is it a valid process. So this is something we are in discussion on. A recent review of our collection rate shows that in both fraud and non-fraud situations, we are successful in collecting between 9 and 13% of overpaid benefits. A significant number of those repayments come through individuals who subsequently file secondary unemployment claims and we simply hold back those benefits from those individuals to repay the initial overpayment. As far as individuals who willingly walk out and hand us the cash, we receive a significant amount of that. But, it certainly could be a higher percentage and that is something we have under consideration.
Chair:Steve, is it my understanding that you give individuals an opportunity to express themselves in the context of their original intent as far as the fraud issue?
Zuelke:Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Prior to making any fraud determination and disqualification for fraud, my staff conducts a complete and thorough investigation into several circumstances. How many weeks did this individual fail to report earnings in conjunction with employment, while drawing unemployment benefits. Do they give us a statement indicating they understood the processes? And we have modified our questions asking individuals have you