Sitnews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska - Opinions


Worker faces prison term as fraud cases
in Alaska exceed $2.7 million

January 16, 2004
Friday - 1:00 am

Anchorage - Superior Court Judge Larry Card has imposed a four-year prison sentence with two years suspended and 10 years of probation on an Anchorage line cook found guilty of filing more than 30 false unemployment insurance claims with the state.

According to information provided by the Alaska Department of Labor, Roy E. McDole, 41, was sentenced in Anchorage Tuesday on one felony count of Theft in the Second Degree and 31 misdemeanor counts of Unsworn Falsification for filing false unemployment insurance claims with the Employment Security Division of the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

Fraud Investigations Unit Investigator Jim Schwanke said McDole failed to report his true employment record and earnings, claiming benefits totaling $12,067. He was also assessed an administrative penalty of $5,097.

Labor Commissioner Greg O'Claray said, "Unemployment insurance benefits represent a state financial commitment in the hundreds of millions of dollars. It is imperative that we prevent fraud." He said the division issued more than $168 million in unemployment insurance payments to Alaskans in Fiscal Year 2003.

"We are committed to providing unemployment insurance benefits that are fair and benefit the great majority of workers who are honest," O'Claray added. "The small minority who break the rules face serious consequences."

Employment Security Division Director Thomas Nelson said the fraud unit is achieving a conviction rate "near 100 percent" in unemployment insurance cases, including 42 convictions in 2003. The unit has forwarded more than 75 active fraud cases to district attorneys for prosecution. Fraudulent claims totaling more than $2.7 million were uncovered during the 12-month period ending December 31.

Nelson warned that violators risk the future loss of unemployment benefits. Courts also may impose full repayment of false benefits, heavy fines, jail time, probation and community work service. Unemployment fraud is frequently revealed when division personnel make a computer run comparing the information claimants list on weekly claim certifications with quarterly wage reports filed by employers.

The cross-matches include reviewing reports on persons who may be collecting benefits fraudulently in Alaska while they are employed in other states. Nelson said, "It's just a matter of time until violators get caught."

The Alaska Department of Labor said labor investigators also work with the Child Support Enforcement Division in the Alaska Department of Revenue to confirm when an individual has returned to work.

Nelson said information from the public helps investigators identify fraudulent claims, citing a tip received from Kodiak. An investigation identified more than 60 workers from seafood processing plants who filed for unemployment insurance benefits while living outside the United States during the off-season. All of those charged were required to repay the benefits they had obtained fraudulently.


Source of News Release:

Alaska Department of Labor & Workforce Development
Web Site


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