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Able, Just Not Willing

Businessman fired, leaving his office with his personal effects
Senior Director of Strategic Alliances
LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Unemployment insurance provides payments to those who are unable to secure employment through no fault of their own. Unfortunately, this benefits program is seen by fraudsters as an opportunity to line their own pockets.

Angela Stubblefield of Tacoma, Wash., has been sentenced for filing fraudulent disability insurance benefits claims in California. She will serve two years and six months in prison and pay $219,871 in restitution. (This crime is particularly egregious because it was an inside job.)

Stubblefield worked for the California Employment Development Department (EDD) along with another defendant, Katherine Decker. Stubblefield and Decker abused their positions to file more than a dozen claims for disability insurance between 2013 and 2017. (They helped themselves to “free funds” by taking advantage of a role that was intended to serve individuals in need.)

One of the most common kinds of unemployment claims is made by an individual with a mental or physical disability that prevents them from being able to work. Fraudsters seek to exploit this program by falsely claiming disability and taking away funds from individuals who legitimately need assistance the most.

Using their inside access to the system, Decker and Stubblefield were able to approve the fraudulent disability claims they filed. Additionally, the pair committed identity theft by illegally extending existing disability claims that were under the names and identities of real individuals.

In total, Decker and Stubblefield filed 15 fake disability claims, defrauding EDD of $373,566.

Stubblefield will begin serving her sentence starting Feb. 1, 2021. Co-defendant Katherine Decker was sentenced earlier this year to three years and seven months in prison for her role in the disability benefits fraud and identity theft scheme.

If you suspect someone of committing Unemployment Insurance fraud you can report it to the appropriate state contact found on the U.S. Department of Labor’s website.

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from an article, “Tacoma woman sentenced for filing 15 fraudulent disability claims in California,” published by ABC10 on November 9, 2020.

SACRAMENTO, Calif – A resident of Tacoma, Wash., has been sentenced to two years and six months in prison for filing fraudulent claims for disability insurance benefits in California.

Angela Stubblefield, 49, was sentenced on Monday, Nov. 9, by U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Meuller. In addition to her prison sentence, Stubblefield will need to pay $219,871 in restitution.

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