Two metro-east residents accused of lying about job status to get benefits

News-DemocratSeptember 18, 2013 

A Cahokia woman and a Swansea man have been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of lying about not having a job in order to receive unemployment benefits.

Mary Lee Owens, 53, of Cahokia, was indicted on charges of stealing pension benefits from the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs, according to Stephen R. Wigginton, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois. Owens is accused of stealing more than $1,000 from the department by lying about her employment status in order to receive unemployment benefits from November 2004 through April 2013. If she is convicted of the charge, Owens faces up to 10 years in prison.

In a separate federal grand jury indictment, Mark A. Lewis, 29, of Swansea, was charged with stealing unemployment benefits from the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board from January through May. He is accused of committing the crime by allegedly lying about his employment status in order to received unemployment benefits.

If convicted, Lewis faces up to 10 years in federal prison.

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