United States Attorney Jenny A. Durkan
Western District of Washington
Six Who Illegally Collected Unemployment Benefits Charged With Theft Of Government Funds
Initiative Targets Those who Collected Thousands in Unemployment Benefits while Employed
Six individuals from across Western Washington were charged today in U.S. District Court with theft of government funds for illegally collecting thousands of dollars in unemployment benefits while they were gainfully employed, announced U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. The six were identified by investigators with the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General (DOL-OIG), and the Washington Employment Security Department (WESD). The overpayment of benefits ranges from $14,000 for one man, to more than $78,000 for another. The defendants have been charged by complaint. Some are being sought by law enforcement and others are being summoned to appear in U.S. District Court. Two defendants are scheduled to appear in U.S. District Court in Seattle on June 5, 2012.
“For so many people and families, unemployment benefits have kept a roof over their heads and food on the table. Cheaters, such as these defendants, reduce the safety net for those who truly need it,” said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan. “We will aggressively protect the program.”
These are summaries of the cases filed today in federal court:
KIMBERLYNN CHANDLER, 42, of Tacoma, Washington, claimed unemployment benefits from November 2009 to September 2010, certifying each week that she was not working. In fact for that time period she was employed by Hawaiian airlines earning more than $67,000. Investigators allege she illegally collected $26,038.
PAUL RYAN SHIPLEY, 36, of Lake Stevens, Washington, allegedly engaged in a variety of frauds involving unemployment benefits. He collected benefits under two different social security numbers, he was both employed and self –employed at times he claimed benefits, and he cashed unemployment checks at the same time he electronically deposited the checks into his bank account. The complaint alleges he fraudulently collected more than $78,000.
RODERICK PAYNE, 36, of Tacoma, Washington, allegedly claimed unemployment benefits while employed as a valet parking attendant at a Bellevue hotel. Between March 2009 and February 2011, PAYNE claimed $28,154 to which he was not entitled.
SARA PROPERNICK, 27, of Auburn, Washington, allegedly claimed unemployment benefits using the name and social security number of her boyfriend who was actually incarcerated at the time. PROPERNICK would use the unemployment benefits telephone system to claim benefits each week. Between June 2008 and November 2009, PROPERNICK allegedly fraudulently collected $20,994.
DANIEL SANDOVAL, 26, of Aguanga, California, claimed unemployment benefits in Washington from October 2008 to January 2011, despite being employed by three different employers. SANDOVAL was employed by Hampton Lumber Mills, Kohls Department stores and Menzies Aviation. The complaint alleges he fraudulently collected $39,871 in benefits.
FIO FIO, Jr., 36, of Tacoma, Washington, allegedly collected benefits at various times between 2009 and 2011, when he was actually employed. At one point in 2009, FIO FIO was banned from collecting benefits for six months because fraud was detected. In 2011, a routine audit determined FIO FIO was again claiming benefits while employed. The alleged loss is about $15,000 in benefits paid for fraudulent claims.
Theft of government funds is punishable by up to ten years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The charges contained in the complaints are only allegations. A person is presumed innocent unless and until he or she is proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
The cases were investigated by the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General (DOL-OIG) and the Washington State Employment Security Department (WESD). The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Steven Masada, Justin Arnold, Andrew Colasurdo, Kate Vaughan, Thomas Woods, and Brian Werner.