COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN) -- Starting this year, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services will intercept federal tax refunds headed to people who have committed unemployment compensation fraud. 

"We've done this in previous years for state taxes. This is the first year that we'll also be able to do this for federal taxes," said Ohio Dept. of Job and Family Services spokesman Ben Johnson.

The state expects to recover tens of millions of dollars more in fraudulently obtained benefits through this new program, called the Treasury Offset Program. New York and Illinois each collected about $26 million in the first year they ran the program.

In 2013, Ohio paid approximately $1.8 billion in state and federal unemployment compensation. Ohio has about $40 million in outstanding fraud debt for state unemployment benefits, plus an additional $30 million in outstanding fraud debt for federal unemployment benefits paid to Ohioans.

"The single biggest way that people commit unemployment fraud is that they return to work and they don't notify the state of Ohio," said Johnson.

Fraud also occurs when claimants provide false information about the reason they are unemployed or collect unemployment compensation without actively seeking new employment.

(Photo courtesy Getty Images)