HELENA, Mont. (AP) — The Department of Labor and Industry says Montana has paid out more than $10 million in potentially fraudulent unemployment claims during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It also says it has stopped more than $220 million in fraudulent claims since late April.

New applications for unemployment benefits declined this week but the number of people who sought benefits is still more than twice as high as the same week last year.

More than 24% of the state's workforce has been unemployed at some point since March 14.

Meanwhile, nearly 250 inmates and staff at the Montana Women's Prison are being tested for COVID-19.

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