Indiana agencies cracking down on unemployment fraud
Indiana figures it handed over $13 million worth of unemployment benefits to Hoosiers who didn't deserve the money. Authorities expect they will find even more fraud now that a full time prosecutor is working the cases.
The money comes from a state unemployment fund that is $1.7 billion in debt. Last year there were only 18 criminal cases filed for unemployment fraud.
A new partnership between the Marion County prosecutor and Department of Workforce Development has already led to charges against four people. The partnership was announced at a news conference Monday.
"We filed charges against these four individuals. They won't be the last. We have investigations ongoing against other individuals," said Terry Curry, Marion County prosecutor.
One deputy prosecutor from the county will deal exclusively with these cases, and the agency will work with the Department of Workforce Development to investigate.
Investigators say Jordon Wardrip earned about $43,000 while collecting almost $26,000 in unemployment. Paris Vaughn is accused of receiving more than $40,000 in benefits while earning nearly $60,000.
Marion County has jurisdiction over all such cases in the state because the workforce development department's server for filing for benefits online is in Indianapolis. Other counties will still have the authority to charge individuals they suspect of committing unemployment insurance fraud if they choose.
Employers as well as individuals can report unemployment fraud to the DWD.