CHICAGO - A Southern Illinois man was sentenced to 27 months in federal prison and ordered to repay the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) $44,670 for collecting unemployment insurance benefits while working and tax fraud.
James L. Quirin, 59, of Sauget, also was sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay the Internal Revenue Service $384,780, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District.
“We cannot tolerate individuals who knowingly defraud the program. Stealing from the unemployment insurance Trust Fund hurts every worker and business owner in Illinois.” IDES Director Jay Rowell said. “Prosecuting this fraud and recovering these payments shows that Illinois takes seriously its responsibility to help employers and workers grow our economy.”
With regard to his criminal actions and IDES, Quirin applied for unemployment insurance benefits in February 2009 even though he was receiving significant income as a businessman. His falsified information led to the approval of his unemployment insurance application and continued payments. He spent some of those payments at restaurants and bars in Costa Rica. The case number is 3:11-cr-30209-DRH-1.
Unemployment insurance taxes pay for benefits that workers receive when they are laid off. In Illinois, the taxes support 26 weeks of unemployment benefits. Operational funding for IDES – dollars used to pay salaries and utilities, for example – come from federal funds through the U.S. Department of Labor, not from unemployment insurance taxes nor from the state’s general revenue budget in Springfield.
IDES also has used anti-fraud measures to mitigate budget cuts. Since 2012, IDES recovered $85.7 million in fraudulent benefit payments; stopped $154 million in fraudulent payments before they could be made; and increased business tax collections by 50 percent. These new tools to stop waste, fraud and abuse include the authority to garnish federal tax refunds of unemployment cheats; a stronger anti-fraud unit with attorneys from the Attorney General’s office; a monthly reporting requirement by employers to more quickly identify individuals working and wrongfully collecting unemployment insurance; and the ability to hold business officials personally liable for knowingly misstating their company’s unemployment insurance obligations.
In December, there were more than 215,000 Help Wanted On-Line job advertisements in Illinois and 92 percent sought full-time workers. These positions can be pursued through Illinoisjoblink.com, the state’s help-wanted board. Job seekers can post multiple resumes to highlight specific skills and target multiple jobs. Employers can use word-search technology to find specific candidates and qualify for tax incentives. Using illinoisjoblink.com also can help maintain eligibility for unemployment insurance.