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June 19, 2014

Jeffersonville woman pleads guilty to unemployment insurance fraud

JEFFERSONVILLE — A Jeffersonville woman pleaded guilty Monday in Clark County Circuit Court No. 1 to receiving stolen property, a class D felony.

Shahanna V. Cousins, 33, purposefully defrauded the system by failing to disclose employment and earnings, according to a news release from Indiana Department of Workforce Development.

“The investigation began when an [DWD] employee was notified by Cousins’ employer that she was receiving wages. Using agency records and other information from Cousins’ employer, DWD investigated and was able to verify she was indeed falsifying the information she provided to the DWD,” according to the release.

The agency reported that Cousins was ordered to repay $13,412 in benefits she fraudulently collected as well as $400 in penalties and interest.

The release also states that Cousins was sentenced to three years probation, but that she will serve time in prison if she violates the terms of her plea agreement.

“Purposefully lying so you can receive more unemployment insurance than you are entitled to is stealing from taxpayers, plain and simple,” said DWD Commission Scott B. Sanders in the release. “We appreciate the diligence of Ms. Cousins’ employer to help safeguard these funds for Hoosiers truly in need.”

DWD receives wage reports and new hire data from Hoosier employers documenting who is employed and receiving compensation, according to the release, which continues, “The agency uses this information to ensure people are collecting only the amount of unemployment insurance benefits they are entitled to.”

 

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