Guilt is an emotion that humans experience when they believe they’ve violated a moral standard.  Guilt is usually followed by remorse or regret.  Let’s say for example, you saw someone drop $20 out of their coat pocket on the street.  The morally responsible act would be to grab the $20, catch the owner and hand it back.  If you didn’t want to tango with morality, you could pocket the $20 and never say a word, though you’d likely have to deal with guilt.  So, how do fraudsters deal with guilt?  According to an IndyStar article, one fraudster handled his guilt through a plea, a guilty plea for unemployment insurance fraud.

Every state dictates the eligibility criteria for individuals who qualify for unemployment benefits in its own state.  Even so, it’s fair to say that all state laws allow for individuals, who have lost a job through no fault of their own, to collect unemployment benefits to support themselves while they look for another job.  Oh…and there is one more common feature among state unemployment benefits laws:  the benefit recipient must actually be unemployed. (Seems pretty straightforward to me.) That appears to have been the stumbling block for one Indiana resident, who pleaded guilty to collecting over $30,705 in unemployment benefits over a period of 18 months while employed.

The case is the first in a dual effort by a state and local partnership, following an announcement that state and local law enforcement will work together on fraudulent unemployment insurance benefits claims. (More of these inter/intra-governmental partnerships are needed to beat the fraudsters at their own game.) An investigation found the fraudster received his unemployment benefits checks from July 2008 through June 2010, neglecting to disclose earnings from an employer during that time.  As part of his plea deal, the fraudster agreed to repay the stolen benefits in full, in addition to $17,995 in statutory penalties.  A judge sentenced the man to an eight year sentence in prison that was suspended due to the plea agreement.  

So, do you think he pleaded guilty because he couldn’t handle the guilt of committing fraud?  Who knows?  Lucky for him, he was able to evade jail time, but his bank account will be feeling the most remorse.

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