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Dec.5, 2011

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Prison for Unemployment Insurance Fraudsters

VICTORIA, Texas - Andrea Mims, 48, and Lea Ann Battles, 44, both of Cuero, Texas, have been sentenced to federal prison for defrauding the Unemployment Insurance Program, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today.

At the sentencing hearing this afternoon in Victoria before Senior United States District Judge John D. Rainey, Mims was sentenced to 21 months, while Battles received 27 months in federal prison. Each will be required to serve a three-year-term of supervised release following completion of their prison term. Mims was also ordered to pay restitution totaling $110,400, while Battles will pay $96,222.

On Sept. 6, 2011, Mims and Battles each pleaded guilty to mail fraud and admitted to filing numerous fraudulent unemployment insurance claims. All of the claims named fictitious employers and were filed using the names and Social Security numbers of other individuals. As a result of these fraudulent claims, debit cards were sent through the United States Mail to addresses controlled by Mims and Battles. Between October 2009 and June 2011, approximately $96,222 in unemployment insurance benefits were paid to Mims and Battles as a result of the fraudulent unemployment insurance claims. Additional fraudulent claims filed by Mims in her own name resulted in another $14,178 in fraudulent unemployment insurance benefit payments to Mims.

Andrea Mims= husband, Frederick Mims, pleaded guilty to mail fraud in a related unemployment insurance fraud scheme on Aug. 1, 2011, and has already been sentenced to six months in federal custody followed by three years of supervised release for his part in that scheme. Frederick Mims was also ordered to pay $25,317 in restitution.

Andrea Mims and Battles have been and will remain in the custody pending transfer to a Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

The case was investigated by agents from the United States Department of Labor, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Cuero Police Department and the Texas Workforce Commission. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Robert D. Thorpe Jr.