Michigan unemployment employee charged in $1.6 million fraud scheme

A former Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency employee and two other women were charged this week in connection with a $1.6 million fraud scheme.

According to federal authorities, Antonia Brown, age 47, of Detroit, was an Unemployment Insurance Examiner assigned to the Benefit Payment Control Unit. Her duties included reviewing, approving, and adjudicating various Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) and Unemployment Insurance Assistance (UIA) claims.

Brown and Kiannia Mitchel, 32, of Romulus, are accused of fraudulently filing and/or accessing more than 123 PUA claims, resulting in the disbursement of approximately $1.6 million in federal funds. This scheme started in March 2020.

Authorities allege Brown electronically accessed, altered, and approved approximately 101 of the fraudulent claims, which were all associated with the addresses of Mitchel and Angela Johnson, age 47, of Detroit. 

Mitchel and Johnson allegedly received money from third parties to assist them with the claims and paid Brown for her assistance in processing the fraudulent claims.

When the investigation is completed, a determination will be made whether to seek a felony indictment, as trial cannot be held on felony charges in a complaint.