When an unemployment benefits claim is filed, you are required by law to provide personal information including name, Social Security number (SSN), phone number and current address. By submitting the claim, which is considered a legal document, you are also certifying that you are actively searching for a job and are ready and willing to work. In addition, if you earn any extra income while receiving unemployment benefits, you are required to disclose your wages. If any information reported on the claim is intentionally misrepresented, your employment situation may be considered fraudulent. An article in The Courant reports that a Windsor woman allegedly got creative with a few claim forms and was actually able to collect unemployment benefits while serving jail time. (If true, maybe she forgot to report her address – 100 Locked Up Blvd.)
The article states that the defendant is accused of using her own birth date and SSN to file fraudulent unemployment claims, occasionally changing one digit in her birth date to file additional claims. In addition to potentially manipulating her own personal information, authorities say she moved on to multiple stolen identities including a Massachusetts resident, a deceased person and other unassigned identification numbers. The warrant for her arrest notes that her alleged efforts resulted in the receipt of more than $27,000 in benefits over nearly five years. The story also states that the defendant is accused of collecting unemployment wages during periods in which she was in the slammer. (That’s a big “no-no.” Being behind bars makes prisoners ineligible to collect unemployment benefits.)
The defendant – who is innocent until proven guilty – is currently being held on bond. She faces sentencing for charges including two counts of first-degree larceny by defrauding a public community; second-degree larceny by defrauding a public community; three counts of unemployment compensation fraud; four counts of attempted second-degree larceny; attempted unemployment compensation fraud; and, first-degree identity theft and third-degree identity theft. (Wow – if she’s convicted, that will be quite a rap sheet!).
Whether this defendant is convicted of these alleged crimes or not, the facts alleged in the case are instructive and pretty basic: earning cash via unemployment benefits while serving time, using stolen information and falsifying personal information are crimes. These alleged crimes are all great examples of how a public records solution designed to resolve identities and prevent fraud.