Contractor charged in $2 million unemployment fraud case

Posted at 4:41 PM, Jul 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-18 16:41:49-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — A Detroit woman has been charged with allegedly trying to defraud the State of Michigan and the US Government in the multi-million dollar unemployment fraud that targeted funds for unemployment assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Brandi Hawkins is accused of using her access as a contract employee of the State of Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency to fraudulently release payment on hundreds of fraudulent claims.

The 39-year-old is accused of fraudulently disbursing over $2 million in federal and state funds.

Federal prosecutors say they seized over $200,000 in cash from her home during a search warrant. Hawkins is also accused of purchasing high-end handbags and other luxury goods.

”Brandi Hawkins is charged with exploiting the current pandemic to defraud the State of Michigan and United States for her own personal gain. These are serious allegations, and my office is committed to prosecuting any person who attempts to use the Covid-19 crisis to defraud the people of Michigan,” stated US Attorney Matthew Schneider in a news release.