Southern Illinois Resident Sentenced for Deliberately Defrauding Federal Unemployment Insurance Program
Stephen R. Wigginton, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois, announced today that Michael Douglas, 31, of O’Fallon, Illinois was sentenced today in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Illinois, East St. Louis Division for defrauding the unemployment insurance program. Following his plea of guilty on September 17, 2012, to a one-count indictment for Embezzlement of Public Funds, the District Court sentenced Douglas to a 5 month term of incarceration to be followed by a 3 year term of supervised release. Douglas will spend the first 5 months of his supervised release term subject to home confinement. He also was ordered to repay approximately $17,470 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, Douglas admitted to being employed between January 2009 and December 2009 while also filing for and receiving unemployment insurance benefits. In order to receive the benefits, Douglas had to certify, approximately every two weeks, to the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) that he was not working and that he was ready, willing, and able to work. He also had to verify that he was actively seeking work. Douglas was supposed to inform IDES of any income he received during the certification period, but he did not report that he was employed and earning money, instead choosing to collect both wages and benefits simultaneously. Between January and December of 2009 Douglas collected $21,264 in employment insurance benefits to which he was not entitled; however, Douglas repaid some of the money he stole prior to his sentencing, resulting in a lower restitution figure.
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.