An Elkhart man must pay more than $12,000 in repayments and fines after pleading guilty to unemployment insurance fraud, the Indiana Department of Workforce Development announced on Thursday, March 6.
The state agency discovered that Michael D. Griffis, 55, was working full-time while collecting unemployment benefits. He recently pleaded guilty to the Class C felony in Marion County Criminal Court 5, and was sentenced to community corrections for two years, plus probation for another six years.
Griffis in January 2010 filed a claim for benefits after he was laid off from his job at Forest River Inc., and was receiving $288 a week in benefits. Later in the year, the DWD learned he had been working from 35 to 46 hours per week at Forest River while receiving the unemployment benefits, according to court records.
DWD spokesman Joe Frank said the agency's electronic systems flag a case in which a recipient's identifying information matches wage records that employers automatically report to the agency.
"It's very difficult for any of these folks to slip through the cracks because all of it's automated now," Frank said.
Under an agreement with the Marion County Prosecutor's Office, the Department of Workforce Development is charging unemployment fraud cases in Marion County, which can have jurisdiction because benefit recipients from throughout the state file their claims electronically on a DWD server located in Marion County.
People can anonymously report unemployment fraud online at www.in.gov/dwd/fraud.