Fraud as a Side Job


The Northwest Indiana Times tells the story of a working woman in Gary, Indiana, whose theft of nearly $15,000 in unemployment benefits was uncovered by a diligent employee at the Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD).

The Indiana DWD is responsible for identifying unemployment benefit fraud by reviewing wage reports and other information detailing how, when and where Hoosiers are employed. An investigation was opened when a DWD employee considered the Gary woman’s unemployment benefits claim against evidence that she was concurrently earning wages. (Spoiler alert: she had a job the entire time.)

After pleading guilty to a Class D felony, the woman was hit with a $13,493 bill for the stolen benefits and put on probation for three years. (Of course, the irony of it all is that this mark on her record may ultimately affect her employment status).

Thievery has never been a good look for a grown woman (orange is NOT the new black), felonies are an even worse one, and stealing funds reserved for the less fortunate is just plain old tacky.

To the diligent state employee who discovered the fraud: job well done.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on ”Gary woman pleads guilty to unemployment fraud,” a staff article published by Northwest Indiana Times on January 15, 2016.

A Gary woman has pleaded guilty to unemployment insurance fraud for collecting benefits while working full time.

Jannell M. Smoot, 55, pleaded to the Class D felony recently in Lake County Superior Court.

The investigation began when an Indiana Department of Workforce Development employee determined Smoot was earning wages while claiming unemployment insurance, the agency said in a news release.

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Larry Benson
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.