Woman claims DES is being duped for welfare fraud

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PHOENIX -- Thousands of people are relying on unemployment benefits from the state, but are some of those benefits being provided to those who don't need it?

The state says they are not being duped. But it does make you wonder and I'll tell you why.

A Scottsdale business woman claims she is a one-man band. She doesn't have any employees at all and she runs her business herself. But she believes two guys are using her business to pull a fast one on the state of Arizona.

Diane Minker is a Realtor who owns a company called Integrity Fine Properties.

Now, although business was once thriving, she never had to hire any help and currently, with the economy in the tank, she certainly doesn't need to hire anyone.

"I don't need employees because it's about me," she said. "If they don't like me, they're not going to do business with the company."

So since Minker never had any employees, why is she getting notices from the Department of Economic Security saying two of her employees were seeking unemployment benefits from the state?

"Imagine my surprise -- never heard of the person before," she said.

She may have never heard of the two mystery employees, but they both claimed to have made thousands of dollars while working for Integrity Fine Properties and now that they're unemployed, they need financial assistance from the state.

So, Minker called DES to make sure the two guys didn't get a dime, but, "I can't reach a live person at DES."

DES eventually sent Minker paperwork and she disputed the claim, saying what the two mystery people were doing was fraudulent.

3 On Your Side also got involved. We wanted to know what was going on.

DES discovered there was no fraudulent activity at all.

In fact, they tell 3 On Your Side it was simply a clerical error, that the two mystery people actually did exist and once worked for another company, not Integrity Fine Properties.

Even though the agency says the clerical error was corrected and everything was legitimate, Minker is not so convinced.

"How many other people is this going to affect and how big of a scam is this?" Minker asked.

A spokesperson with DES tells me they have checks and balances in place to make sure fraudulent claims are not filed and if they find out someone did make a fraudulent claim, they're turned over to the Attorney General's Office.