SAUGATUCK, Mich. (WWJ/AP) – Michael Ryder had been approved for $360 every week in Michigan unemployment benefits — until the state learned he’d been dogging it at the Detroit-area restaurant where he supposedly worked.

Ryder is a German Shepherd owned by attorney Michael Haddock on the other side of the state in Saugatuck.

Speaking to WWJ Newsradio 950’s Sandra McNeill, Haddock said he was indeed surprised when he received a benefits letter addressed to “Michael Ryder” from Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency.

The paperwork listed the dog as having been employed by Kruse and Muer, an upscale seafood chain. “He’s very food driven, so it’s no coincidence that he had a restaurant on his application,” Haddock said, with a chuckle.

When Haddock contacted the agency about the letter, he was told the agency’s computer system had sent it, but that the claim was later was flagged as suspicious and denied.

Haddock added that, while he’s not entirely sure what Ryder does all day, he is pretty sure that his dog has never had a job. Could it have been a practical joke?

“I have plenty of friends that maybe would do something (like this), but they would genuinely fess up to it by now. So, yeah, I’m not sure,” he said.

Agency spokesman Chris De Witt said that they’re still looking into the matter, but they may never know who filed the claim.

“Due to criminals stealing data from a number of different places — Equifax, other places where this has happened over the last few years — criminals are now using that information to file for unemployment benefits, and the IRS is running into the same problem with tax refunds. That’s how this starts.”

De Witt said, fortunately, in this case there were enough indicators to raise red flags about the claim, and no money was paid out.

Investigations administrator Tim Kolar wrote in a tongue-in-cheek email that he knows “first-hand it is rare for ‘man’s best friend’ to contribute financially to the household and that will continue in this instance.”

© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Comments (7)
  1. Lou Stennes says:

    Don’t fall for this story. As a retired State Unemployment Service Rep from a southern state I can tell you this is impossible unless someone intentionally tried to scam the system. First of all somebody had to use a “valid” social security number for starters and that is just the beginning of verification data. This was fostered on the system by an unscrupulous person. In other words it was made up and intentional! Notice no benefits were disbursed.

  2. Absolutely agreed, Lou Stennes. This was an intentional action, whether malicious or meant just as a joke. I’m glad it was caught, as this sort of thing undermines the validity of the system. I’m not amused by the investigation administrator’s lighthearted comment; having been both an employer and an employee at various times over my career I know unemployment insurance funds are taken from paychecks, not from some nebulous slush fund, and that stealing from the UIA is stealing from working people. That’s nothing to joke about.

  3. What do you expect?
    Is there anything ANY government agency or entity on any level from the White House to the county trash collectors has ever done right? Just complete incompetence, thievery and corruption everywhere every time.
    Didn’t you know that all government agencies hire only bosses families, lazy braindead cronies and people that are dumb as rocks and @$$holes with IQ lower than the room temperature?

  4. Vox Veritas says:

    …and Purina food stamps.

  5. Scott Gunn says:

    My dog licks butt and eats poop. I put her down on the application as a democratic senator….

  6. Ain’t this country great?

  7. Bob Smith says:

    I think that state’s entire unemployment benefits system should be investigated from head to toe, and every other state’s should be, too. After 8 years of Obama, in my opinion there’s a high probability systems were turned for corrupt purposes. Look at all the other crimes he and his communist/gangster cronies committed. Not one of them has been prosecuted, so why wouldn’t the UE benefits system have been weaponized and used for Democrat evil?

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