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Letohatchee man prosecuted on unemployment compensation fraud charge

Special to the Signal

Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington announced on Friday, May 4 that the Department has successfully prosecuted several Alabamians for unemployment compensation fraud, including one for Lowndes County.

Among individuals who were charged with a misdemeanor violation of the Alabama Unemployment Compensation Law by making false statements in claims for benefits was

Dwight Kelly, of Letohatchee. He was tried in Lowndes County District Court on Feb. 27.  An investigation by Labor’s Benefit Payment Control Section determined that Kelly received a total of $1,538 in benefits to which he was not entitled.

Kelly pled guilty and was ordered to pay a victim’s assessment fee, court costs, and restitution in the amount of benefits received illegally.

“Unemployment compensation benefits can serve as a lifeline to those who truly need them,” said Washington. “However, we want to send a message to those who would knowingly defraud the system in order to obtain benefits they aren’t entitled to: This is a crime and you will be prosecuted.

“Our investigators are continuously working with local District Attorney Offices in order to identify and prosecute those individuals who are committing these crimes. I would also like to remind employers that their timely reporting of new hires is one of the best tools we have to prevent unemployment fraud.”

Suspected unemployment compensation fraud may be reported to the Alabama Department of Labor by calling 1-800-392-8019. Employers may find more information regarding reporting new hires at http://www.labor.alabama.gov/nh.

The Alabama Department of Labor / The Alabama Career Center System is a partner in Alabama Works, Alabama’s unified workforce system.