Nine Alabama Residents Plead Guilty In Wire and Unemployment Insurance Fraud
United States Attorney Kenyen R. Brown announced today that, with a ninth guilty plea this morning before District Judge Ginny Granade, all nine defendants charged with wire fraud in connection with unemployment insurance in February 2011 have pleaded guilty. The cases were brought in a joint investigation by the Alabama Department of Industrial Relations and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General.
The nine defendants each admitted that they received thousands of dollars in unemployment insurance – through weekly cash deposits which they accessed through ATM transactions on government-issued debit cards – when they were actually gainfully employed. The collective loss from the nine cases was $101,574.
The individuals who have pleaded guilty and the loss amounts are:
Steven Todd Abrams of Moss Point, MS $9,272
Jessie Ray Burrell of Mobile, AL $8,349
George F. Cade, III of Linden, AL $8,606
James W. Estes, Jr., of Foley, AL $14,180
Deborah Haywood of Mobile, AL $11,516
Steven Kilpatrick of Thomasville, AL $11,107
Earless Overstreet of Perdido, AL $15,595
Paige Pearson of Mobile, AL $11,941
Alex S. Smith of Mobile, AL $11,008
In response to the guilty verdicts, Richard Walker, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Atlanta Region for the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations stated, “Today’s guilty pleas demonstrate our unwavering commitment to ensure that unemployment insurance benefits only go to qualified individuals and not to those who are gainfully employed. The Office of Inspector General will continue to work with the State of Alabama and the United States Attorney to combat fraud against the Department of Labor’s Unemployment Insurance programs.”
Sentencing hearings are scheduled in July 2011 for each defendant.
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