More than 1,100 people have collected nearly $2 million in unemployment benefits while they were incarcerated in Illinois, including $43,000 that went to a person in the Cook County Jail, reports the Chicago Tribune. Now they may face state or federal criminal fraud charges as well as having to repay what they shouldn't have taken in the first place, says the Illinois Department of Employment Security. In Cook County alone, there were 296 inmates tied to $722,689 in wrongful payments.
The number of inmates in state prisons was unavailable but expected to be low. The recovered money will go into a state unemployment trust fund, helping to lessen pressure on businesses that foot costs for the pool of money. Agency Director Jay Rowell said the cross-matching program represented an “important step in rooting out waste, fraud and abuse.”