Marion County Will Take Lead in Prosecuting Unemployment Fraud
Curry has statewide jurisdiction because DWD servers are in Indy
L to R: Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry, Department of Workforce Development Commissioner Scott Sanders, DWD counsel Jeff Gill. (WIBC.com photo: Eric Berman)
Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry will take on primary responsibility for investigating unemployment fraud cases across Indiana.
Marion County has statewide jurisdiction because a state benefit is involved, and because the Department of Workforce Development's servers are in Indianapolis. Curry has assigned a deputy fulltime to investigating those fraud cases -- he says his office has resources that the state's smaller counties may not.
Curry has announced the filing of four fraud cases, including one involving a suspect outside Marion County. He's not revealing where until the suspect is arrested. In 2012, there were only 18 prosecutions all year in the whole state.
All four cases involve people who kept collecting thousands of dollars in benefits even after landing fulltime jobs. But DWD Commissioner Scott Sanders says the department also encounters cases of identity theft.
In all, Sanders estimates fraudulent benefits cost the state about $13 million in 2012.
The first round of cases includes one man who collected benefits for more than two years, allegedly while working an average of 38 hours per week. Sanders says his department has to rely on employers to notify the state when they hire new people. Often, he says, people land a job soon after collecting their first benefit check, and it takes the state a while to catch up.
The fraud charges carry up to eight years in prison.