COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The state of Ohio has recovered nearly $398 million in unemployment benefits illegally seized by fraudsters, the Department of Job and Family Services said Thursday.

Of the $398 million in benefits recovered to date, the department, in partnership with Ohio banks and law enforcement agencies, revealed $69.7 million in fraudulent transactions from PayPal and $41.3 million from 32 banks, the department said in a news release Thursday.

When unemployment fraud took off in early 2021, Ohio established the Public Private Partnership team — staffed with financial services professionals — to implement anti-fraud measures like identity verification and multi-factor authentication, according to the department.

“Criminals hit Ohio and the rest of the nation hard with fraudulent claims, taking taxpayer dollars and slowing efforts to get money to those in need,” Director Matt Damschroder said. “The recovery of these funds is proof that Ohio continues to collect taxpayer dollars and pursue every avenue to give victims of identity theft justice.”

The department recovered another $238.5 million in unemployment benefits blocked from being distributed by safeguards, and an additional $30.2 million was seized by law enforcement, the release said.

Another $17.8 million, the department said, was recovered through voluntary repayments, offsets and returns from other states.