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West suburban residents among 32 indicted for unemployment insurance fraud

Published: Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013 12:58 p.m. CDT

WESTERN SUBURBS —The Illinois Department of Employment Securities has announced that 32 people — including four from Bolingbrook, La Grange, Naperville and Westmont — have been indicted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office  for alleged unemployment insurance fraud.

U.S. Attorney Gary S. Shapiro's office announced Wednesday criminal charges against the 32 individuals from throughout the Chicago area for an alleged scheme to defraud the IDES of nearly $874,000.

Among those in the indictment are: Joseph Morganfield, 48, of Bolingbrook; Manuel Nieves, 35, of La Grange; Mark Vanderbark, 38, of Naperville; and Joseph J. Kubat III, 51, of Westmont, according to the U.S Attorney’s Office.

Kubat III and Vanderbark where charged with misdemeanor theft counts, while Morganfield and Nieves were charged with felony theft of federal funds. In all, 27 of the defendants were charged with felony theft of federal funds, and five were charged with misdemeanor theft counts in 32 separate indictments filed in U.S. District Court in Chicago, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

In each case, the defendants allegedly lied about their eligibility for benefits by either falsely claiming to be unemployed or underreporting their income, and fraudulently obtained benefits ranging from $19,399 to $38,798, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

“Today is another example of the Department's efforts to root out waste, fraud and abuse,” said Jay Rowell, Director of the IDES. “Stealing money from the unemployment insurance program is a crime against every taxpayer in Illinois and must not be tolerated. The allegations that a few individuals schemed to line their pockets at the expense of others is outrageous.”

In each case, if found guilty of the charges, restitution is mandatory and the felony theft counts carry a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, while the misdemeanor theft counts carry a maximum penalty of a year in prison and a $100,000 fine.

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