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INDIANAPOLIS â€“ Henry Torres of Cass County plead guilty Thursday to theft in connection with fraudulently collecting unemployment insurance. Torres purposefully defrauded the system by collecting unemployment insurance benefits while employed.
The investigation began when Mr. Torresâ€™ employer received a notice from the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) stating they were being charged for his unemployment insurance benefits. The employer notified DWD that Mr. Torres was still working by completing a simple form that allows employers to dispute claims for unemployment insurance. The form is available online at www.in.gov/dwd/protest.pdf. Using agency records and information from the company, DWD investigated and was able to verify Mr. Torres worked while claiming unemployment insurance benefits.
â€śIt is our responsibility to be good stewards of the unemployment insurance trust fund,â€ť said Mark W. Everson, Commissioner of the Department of Workforce Development. â€śWhen an employer reports a potential fraud case, we take it seriously and investigate the claim. We appreciate Hoosier employers doing their part to help us root out those taking advantage of the system. Theft is a crime whether you are stealing property from your neighbor or benefits from the unemployment insurance trust fund.â€ť
Henry Torres must repay the Department of Workforce Development for the benefits he collected and penalties. He owes a total of $13,778 and received 1 year and 180 days of probation. Theft in Indiana is classified as a Class D felony.
Each month, DWD sends employers a notice documenting their charges for former employeesâ€™ unemployment insurance benefits. This provides the employer an opportunity to dispute the claim for unemployment insurance benefits.
You can help combat unemployment insurance fraud and abuse by reporting it online at www.in.gov/dwd/fraud. Your efforts will help ensure tax dollars are spent wisely and unemployment insurance benefits are only paid to people who are eligible to receive them. You do not need to provide your name or any other identifying information in order to file a complaint in regards to unemployment insurance fraud.