Three metro-east women have been sentenced for defrauding the state's unemployment insurance program.
Belleville residents Roda Jefferies, 40, and Yvette Rutherford, 45, and East St. Louis resident Lula M. Gooden, 48, were found to have illegally taken unemployment checks, according to US Attorney Stephen R. Wigginton.
All three pled guilty late last year and received five-year terms of probation and were ordered to repay money they had taken from the Illinois Department of Employment Security.
Jefferies was ordered to repay $18,130, Gooden was ordered to repay $23,898.34 and Rutherford was ordered to repay $23,684.
"Lying in order to receive unemployment compensation is a crime," Wigginton said. "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 their guilty pleas, all three admitted to being employed while also filing for and receiving unemployment insurance benefits. In order to receive the benefits, each woman had to certify, approximately every two weeks, to the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) that she was not working and that she was ready, willing, and able to work. She also had to verify that she was actively seeking work.
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.