Selmian found guilty in employment fraud

Published 10:25pm Tuesday, January 8, 2013

MONTGOMERY — Alabama Department of Labor Commissioner Tom Surtees announced last week the department has successfully prosecuted several Alabamians — including one for Selma — for unemployment compensation fraud.

Harold Downs of Selma pled guilty in Dallas County District Court in December and was sentenced to 180 days in jail, which was suspended for two years pending restitution, and placed on two years of unsupervised probation.

An investigation by Labor’s Benefit Payment Control Section determined that Downs received a total of $3,737 in benefits to which he was not entitled.

He was required to pay court costs and restitution in the amount of benefits received illegally.

“We at the Alabama Department of Labor want people to know that we are aggressively pursuing cases of unemployment compensation fraud,” Surtees said. “Especially in these economic times, we want to make sure that all who are entitled to benefits receive them. But at the same time, we will not allow those who deliberately try to defraud the system to go unpunished. We are working with local District Attorney Offices to make sure that we can identify and prosecute those individuals who are committing these crimes.”

Suspected unemployment compensation fraud may be reported to the Alabama Department of Labor by calling (800) 392-8019.

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