Southern Illinois Resident Sentenced for Federal Unemployment Insurance Program Fraud
Stephen R. Wigginton, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, announced today that Herman Peterson, 58, of East St. Louis, Illinois, was sentenced on January 3, 2013, in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, East St. Louis Division, for defrauding the unemployment insurance program. The District Court sentenced Peterson to 30 days in jail to be followed by a 3 year term of supervised release. Peterson will spend the first 6 months of his supervision on home confinement with electronic monitoring, as well. Peterson also was ordered to repay $15,700 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, Peterson admitted to being employed between November, 2008, and January 2010, while also filing for and receiving unemployment insurance benefits. In order to receive the benefits, Peterson admitted that he had to certify, approximately every two weeks, to the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) that he was ready, willing, and able to work. He also had to verify that he was actively seeking work. Peterson was supposed to inform IDES of any income he received during the certification period, however, but he did not report that he was working and did not report the income he earned to IDES, instead choosing to collect both wages and benefits 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 Special Assistant United States Attorney Katherine L. Lewis.