By Ken de la Bastide Kokomo Tribune
---- — A Kokomo resident has been ordered to repay more than $17,000 to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development after pleading guilty to unemployment insurance fraud.
Shayne Ridenour, 34, pleaded guilty Wednesday in Howard Circuit Court to the Class D felony fraud charge. He was sentenced to three years on probation, but will serve the entire term in prison if he violates the terms of probation. He was ordered to repay the state agency $17,602 for the benefits he fraudulently collected.
The investigation began when the Department of Workforce Development received notice from Ridenour’s employer indicating he was working full-time while collecting benefits, a press release stated. By using agency records and the information from Ridenour’s employer, DWD investigated and verified he was, in fact, working full-time and claiming unemployment benefits.
Each month, the DWD sends employers a notice documenting their charges for former employees’ unemployment insurance benefits. This provides the employer the opportunity to dispute the claim.
“DWD works diligently to ensure only those who are truly eligible receive benefits, and we rely on Hoosier employers to help us root out fraud,” Scott Sanders, commissioner of DWD said.
“Mr. Ridenour’s case is a perfect example of how businesses help us protect Hoosier tax dollars and punish those who take advantage of the system,” he said.