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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of Illinois

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Three Southern Illinois Residents Sentenced For Defrauding Federal Unemployment Insurance Program

Apeil 1, 2013

Stephen R. Wigginton, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, announced today that Roda Jefferies, 40, of Belleville, Illinois, Lula M. Gooden, 48, of East St. Louis, Illinois, and Yvette Rutherford, 45, of Belleville, Illinois, were each sentenced in United States District Court for defrauding the unemployment insurance program. Jeffries pled guilty on December 7, 2012, to Embezzlement of Public Funds, and was sentenced to a 5 year term of probation, the first 6 months of which Jefferies must spend on home confinement. Jefferies also was ordered to repay $18,130 in restitution to the Illinois Department of Employment Security and to pay a $100 special assessment. Gooden pled guilty on December 11, 2012, to Embezzlement of Public Funds, and was sentenced to a 5 year term of probation, the first 7 months of which Gooden must spend on home confinement. Gooden also was ordered to repay $23,898.34 in restitution to the Illinois Department of Employment Security and to pay a $100 special assessment. Rutherford pled guilty on November 19, 2012, to Embezzlement of Public Funds, and was sentenced to a 5 year term of probation, the first 7 months of which Rutherford must spend on home confinement. Rutherford also was ordered to repay $23,684 in restitution to the Illinois Department of Employment Security and to pay a $100 special assessment.

“Lying in order to receive unemployment compensation is a crime,” said United States Attorney Wigginton. “Those who defraud the unemployment insurance program undermine support for an important public program and hurt and insult every law-abiding citizen of Southern Illinois, particularly as public programs face economic crises. I will continue to place a high priority on pursuing those who steal from the United States Treasury.”

At the time of their guilty pleas, all three admitted to being employed while also filing for and receiving unemployment insurance benefits. In order to receive the benefits, each woman had to certify, approximately every two weeks, to the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) that she was not working and that she was ready, willing, and able to work. She also had to verify that she was actively seeking work.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations; the United States Postal Inspection Service; and the Illinois Department of Employment Security. This case was prosecuted by Special Assistant United States Attorney Katherine L. Lewis.

Updated February 19, 2015