BATON ROUGE – A Metairie man is facing four years in prison after admitting to authorities he stole the identities of several co-workers in a scheme to fraudulently collect more than $100,000 in unemployment benefits.
Wayne A. Leeper III, a former office manager for a dental supply business, obtained social security numbers and other personal information and then filed bogus unemployment claims that his victims knew nothing about. Leeper did the same thing with a number of unwitting friends and family.
Leeper, 44, also was ordered to repay the Louisiana Workforce Commission $96,966 in illegally gotten benefits.
The fraud occurred in 2009 and 2010. After Leeper was terminated from his job and could no longer conceal his activities, his former employer questioned an LWC statement it received showing nearly a dozen of its employees as having received unemployment benefits.
LWC staff immediately launched an investigation and notified the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General. Facing prosecution by the U.S. Attorney’s office, Leeper pled guilty to one count each of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.
The LWC has since stepped up its fraud detection efforts, implementing rigorous new measures to catch individuals and employers who try to defraud the system.
“We have deployed state-of-the-art monitoring software and we’re working more closely with other states and the U.S. Department of Labor to detect suspicious activity within our unemployment and workers compensation systems,” LWC Executive Curt Eysink said.
“This case should serve as a warning to anyone considering trying to scam the system,” Eysink said. “We continue to develop new and better ways to detect fraud, and you will be caught and brought to justice.”
You can help level the playing field level in Louisiana for businesses and workers who play by the rules. If you suspect someone is committing fraud, report it to us at laworks.net.
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