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2012-11-01 digital edition

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2012-11-01 / General Stories

Unemployment Insurance Defrauder Receives Five- Year Prison Term

The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) announced today that Bexar County resident Marvin Dale Armer, Jr., was convicted of third degree state felony theft and was sentenced to five years in jail for defrauding the state’s Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits program. Armer pled no contest to the charges on Oct. 11, and also was ordered to pay court costs, attorney fees and $32,051 in restitution. The sentence followed a joint investigation conducted by TWC, the Department of Labor (DOL) Office of Inspector General and the DOL Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations in Houston.

“TWC investigates those individuals who seek to defraud the UI benefits program,” said TWC Chairman Andres Alcantar. “Our agency is committed to protecting those deserving individuals who lose their jobs through no fault of their own, and the Texas employers who fund the program.”

The investigation revealed that Armer and his spouse, Sabrina Armer, filed for UI benefits citing layoffs either from employers that did not exist, or for employment that never happened. Additionally, the Armers opened tax accounts for nine fake companies with TWC’s Tax Department and reported fictitious wages for the alleged employees of these companies. Sabrina Armer also was convicted of a state felony in this case on April 11, and was sentenced to two years of probation, was ordered to pay court costs and attorney fees, and $13,481 in restitution.

“TWC will remain vigilant in ensuring that the unemployment benefits program fulfills its intended purpose of assisting Texans who lose their work without fault,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Ronny Congleton. “We will vigorously pursue anyone who threatens the integrity of the program.”

TWC’s Regulatory Integrity Division (RID) is charged with detecting and preventing fraud, waste and abuse. RID enforces all regulatory statutes within the jurisdiction of the agency, including Tax, Workforce, Trade Act, Skills Development Fund, Self-Sufficiency Fund, Child Care Development Fund and all other programs that TWC administers. Prevention, detection and elimination of fraud, waste and abuse in the UI benefits program are top priorities; ensuring funds are available exclusively to those who meet the eligibility requirements.

“Defrauding the state and the tax-paying employers of Texas is a serious offense. This conviction sends a message to those who would commit such crimes that TWC will aggressively investigate and prosecute your misdeeds,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Employers Tom Pauken.

TWC administers UI benefits to workers who become unemployed through no fault of their own and are actively seeking work. TWC regularly cross-matches UI claims with employer wage reports and other databases to detect possible UI fraud. When TWC discovers that claimants have received UI benefits through fraudulent applications, the agency seeks immediate reimbursement of overpayments. Examples of UI fraud include giving false information and failure to report self-employment or other earnings while receiving UI benefits.

To report suspected UI fraud, call the TWC Fraud and Program Abuse Hotline at 800-252-3642. For updates on fraud convictions, visit TWC’s website at www.texasworkforce.org/ui/bnfts/ prosecutiondispo.html.

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