Former Prison Inmate Sentenced for Defrauding Federal Unemployment Insurance Program
Stephen R. Wigginton, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, announced today that Jeffrey Newman, 45, of Carmi, Illinois was sentenced on December 20, 2012, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, Benton Division, for defrauding the unemployment insurance program and for making false statements. Following his plea of guilty on September 21, 2012, to a two-count indictment for Conspiracy to Embezzle Public Funds and Making a False Statement, the District Court sentenced Newman to a 10 month term of imprisonment to be followed by a 3 year term of supervised release. Newman also was ordered to repay $13,463.50 in restitution to the Illinois Department of Employment Security and to pay a $200 special assessment.
“Lying and cheating 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 his guilty plea, Newman admitted to being incarcerated at FCI Greenville from December 2009 through October 2010. While there, Newman was assisted in collecting unemployment insurance benefits by his then-girlfriend, Kristy Matz, who pleaded guilty to her role in the offense on October 19, 2012. According to admissions by Newman and Matz, Matz had the debit card where Newman’s benefits were deposited. She would certify that Newman was ready, willing, and able to work and that he was actively seeking employment. When IDES distributed the benefits, Matz would keep some of the money for herself and would transfer the rest to Newman’s account with the Bureau of Prisons. Together the two collected $13,463.50 in unemployment insurance benefits while Newman was incarcerated. When questioned by federal agents about the theft of public funds, Newman made materially false statements to the agents as to the location of Kristy Matz.
At her sentencing set for January 13, 2013, Matz faces up to 5 years in prison, up to 3 years of supervised release and a mandatory $100 special assessment, in addition to any restitution order.
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 Assistant United States Attorney Katherine L. Lewis.