Bluford Man Sentenced for Deliberately Defrauding Federal Unemployment Insurance Program
Stephen R. Wigginton, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, announced today that Steven Woodcock, 31, of Bluford, 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. Following a plea of guilty on September 21, 2012, to a one-count indictment for Embezzlement of Public Funds, the District Court sentenced Woodcock to a 5 year term of probation to include 5 months of home detention. During the period of home detention, Woodcock will have to spend his weekends in jail. Woodcock also was ordered to repay $20,553 in restitution to the Illinois Department of Employment Security and to pay a $100 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, Woodcock admitted to collecting worker’s compensation payments while filing for and collecting unemployment insurance benefits between March 2009 and April 2010. In order to receive the benefits, Woodcock had to certify, approximately every two weeks, to the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) that he was ready, willing, and able to work. In addition, Woodcock was supposed to inform IDES of any income he had received during the certification period, but he did not report his worker’s compensation income to IDES, instead choosing to collect both payments simultaneously.
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.