LENEXA, Kan. — Eighteen different envelopes for different people from the Kansas Department of Labor all went to the wrong address. One Lenexa man couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw them.
State auditors said KDOL may have paid up to $600 million in fraudulent claims and sent some 1099 forms out in error.
Jonté Gold believes the envelopes are 1099 forms like the one he received for himself. He said all the envelopes look the same. They are all listed to his Lenexa home, but to different people he has never heard of with the Department of Labor on the return address.
“People are worried about a lot of things, and this doesn’t need to be one of them,” Gold said.
Gold works for the Fairfax GM plant and filed for unemployment at the beginning of the pandemic. So he was anticipating his 1099 form in the mail, but not 18 others.
“Either someone dropped the ball at the Kansas Department of Labor or it’s some kind of fraud going on,” Gold said.
He said over the past two weeks, batches of envelopes ended up in his mailbox. All of them similar to the one he got with his tax form.
“Someone’s social security number, their birth date, pretty much anything you would need to steal someone’s identity is on these forms,” Gold said.
In Topeka, a state auditor reported to legislators that KDOL said some 1099 forms connected to suspected fraud went out in error. Department of Labor Deputy Secretary Brett Flachsbarth said it had to do with a data issue.
“We did have a portion that were sent due to data errors to claimants. We are in the process as we speak of issuing those revised 1099s, and they will reflect zero dollars if they were victims of identity theft. The audit report also indicates there is a way for victims of identity theft to resolve this issue if they did not get a corrected 1099 as we send those out,” Flachbarth said.
Gold said he’s back on unemployment due to a shortage in parts from overseas. He’s planning to be back to work by at least the end of March. He’s been waiting on any response to his claim and hasn’t been able to get through to KDOL to report the envelopes.
He said the phone lines are jammed and sometimes he calls up to 100 times a day trying to get help for his active claim, and to let them know he’s got these envelopes.
“This is just me. So, who knows how many other people who got a stack of these and they might not have their best interest going on,” Gold said.
Gold said he hasn’t opened any of the envelopes and plans to take them to the post office to make sure they’re not tampered with.
A representative from KDOL says they are investigating what happened.