Chesterton Tribune


Local man indicted in federal court for using brothers ID to collect unemployment

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A Chesterton man has been indicted in federal court after the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Indiana said that he stole his brother’s personal information and using it to claim unemployment benefits.

Leon Thomas, 38, is charged with one count of identity theft, one count of aggravated identity theft, and one of theft of government property, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

According to the indictment, in 2006 Thomas used his brother’s name, Social Security number, and date of birth in applying for a job with an unspecified company in Michigan City. There he worked not under his own name but under his brothers, the indictment states.

Then, in December 2008, Thomas “became involuntarily unemployed” and applied on line to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD)—again, using his brother’s personal information—for unemployment insurance benefits, the indictment states. “Benefits were paid to (Thomas) based upon information contained in the application.”

About six months later, in June 2009, Thomas applied for federal extended unemployment benefits, made available through the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, enacted earlier in the winter of 2009, the indictment states.

Moreover, from approximately June 13, 2009, through July 17, 2010, Thomas submitted weekly claim vouchers to DWD to the effect that he was not working, when in fact during this period he was receiving an hourly wage from the Michigan City company, the indictment states.

The total amount of federally funded benefits received by Thomas, according to the indictment: around $10,000.

The case was investigated by DWD and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of the Inspector General.



Posted 11/2/2012