ANNAPOLIS, MD (AP) – Unemployment claims in Maryland have increased greatly since the start of the pandemic, and more than half filed since January were found to be fraudulent. The Maryland Department of Labor has flagged 65% of all unemployment claims since January 2021 alone for fraud, and of that percentage, 87% were actually fraudulent. Identity theft and unemployment fraud are happening country-wide, and the Office of the Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Labor estimated that over $36 billion of the payouts from the CARES Act could have been paid fraudulently.