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Residents from Madison and Jackson counties convicted of unemployment compensation fraud

The Alabama Department of Labor announced the convictions on Friday.

Posted: Feb 21, 2020 9:43 AM
Updated: Feb 21, 2020 9:58 AM

The Alabama Department of Labor says people in Madison and Jackson counties, along with other areas, have been convicted of unemployment compensation fraud.

Three Madison County residents were tried. They are Stephen Broussard, Leon Thomas and Marcus Jones.

Deundra Jones, who is from Section, was tried in Jackson County.

The department released this statement about the convictions:

Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington announced today that the Department has successfully prosecuted several Alabamians for unemployment compensation fraud. The following individuals were charged with a violation of the Alabama Unemployment Compensation Law by making false statements in claims for benefits:

• Ryan Gauthier, of Gadsden, was tried in Etowah County Circuit Court on November 27, 2019. An investigation by Labor’s Benefit Payment Control Section determined that Gauthier received a total of $3,282 in benefits to which he was not entitled.

Gauthier pled guilty to an amended charge of Theft of Property, 4th Degree, and was sentenced to one year in jail, which was suspended, and given two years of unsupervised probation. He was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of benefits received illegally.

• Higel F. Harris, of Birmingham, was tried in Jefferson County Circuit Court on October 9, 2019. An investigation by Labor’s Benefit Payment Control Section determined that Harris received a total of $1,855 in benefits to which he was not entitled.

Harris pled guilty and entered the theft court deferred program. He was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of benefits received illegally.

• Stephen M. Broussard, of Toney, was tried in Madison County Circuit Court on September 19, 2019. An investigation by Labor’s Benefit Payment Control Section determined that Broussard received a total of $2,670 in benefits to which he was not entitled.

Broussard pled guilty to an amended charge of Theft of Property, 4th Degree, and was sentenced to 61 months in jail, which was suspended for two years, and given two years of supervised probation. He was also ordered to pay a victim’s assessment fee, court costs, and restitution in the amount of benefits received illegally.

• Leon D. Thomas, of Huntsville, was tried in Madison County Circuit Court on October 17, 2019. An investigation by Labor’s Benefit Payment Control Section determined that Thomas received a total of $2,057 in benefits to which he was not entitled.

Thomas pled guilty to an amended charge of Theft of Property, 4th Degree, and was sentenced to one year in jail, which was suspended for two years, and given two years of supervised probation. He was also ordered to pay a victim’s assessment fee, court costs, and restitution in the amount of benefits received illegally.

• Isiah Smith, Jr., of Montgomery, was tried in Montgomery County Circuit Court on August 27, 2019. An investigation by Labor’s Benefit Payment Control Section determined that Smith received a total of $1,702 in benefits to which he was not entitled.

Smith pled guilty and was sentenced to two years in jail, which was suspended for three years, and given two years of supervised probation. He was also ordered to pay a victim’s assessment fee, court costs, and restitution in the amount of benefits received illegally.

The following individual was charged with Theft of Property, Third Degree:

• Marcus Jones, of Huntsville, was tried in Madison County Circuit Court on October 31, 2019. An investigation by Labor’s Benefit Payment Control Section determined that Jones received a total of $1,500 in benefits to which he was not entitled.

Jones pled guilty to an amended charge of Theft of Property, 4th degree, and was sentenced to one year in jail, which was suspended, and given two years of unsupervised probation. He was also ordered to pay a victim’s assessment fee, court costs, and restitution in the amount of benefits received illegally.

The following individuals were charged with Theft by Deception, First Degree:

• Alicia J. Childs, of Gadsden, was tried in Etowah County Circuit Court on November 25, 2019. An investigation by Labor’s Benefit Payment Control Section determined that Childs received a total of $3,792 in benefits to which she was not entitled.

Childs pled guilty to an amended charge of Theft by Deception, 4th degree, and was sentenced to two years in jail, which was suspended, and given two years of unsupervised probation. She was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of benefits received illegally.

• Philip Crawford, of Attalla, was tried in Etowah County Circuit Court on November 25, 2019. An investigation by Labor’s Benefit Payment Control Section determined that Crawford received a total of $1,371 in benefits to which he was not entitled.

Crawford pled into the pre-trial diversion program and was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of benefits received illegally.

• Joseph Ingram, of Gadsden, was tried in Etowah County Circuit Court on November 25, 2019. An investigation by Labor’s Benefit Payment Control Section determined that Ingram received a total of $6,704 in benefits to which he was not entitled.

Ingram pled into the pre-trial diversion program and was ordered to pay restitution in the amount of benefits received illegally.

• Billy Jackson, of Gadsden, was tried in Etowah County Circuit Court on February 14, 2020. An investigation by Labor’s Benefit Payment Control Section determined that Jackson received a total of $3,553 in benefits to which he was not entitled.

Jackson pled into the pre-trial diversion program and was ordered to pay a victim’s assessment fee, court costs, and restitution in the amount of benefits received illegally.

• Catherine E. Jackson, of Gadsden, was tried in Etowah County Circuit Court on October 28, 2019. An investigation by Labor’s Benefit Payment Control Section determined that Jackson received a total of $6,851 in benefits to which she was not entitled.

Jackson pled guilty to an amended charge of Theft of Property, 1st degree, and was sentenced to four years in jail, which was suspended, and given three years of supervised probation. She was also ordered to pay a victim’s assement fee, court costs, and restitution in the amount of benefits received illegally.

• Quentero J. Lawson, of Gadsden, was tried in Etowah County Circuit Court on October 30, 2019. An investigation by Labor’s Benefit Payment Control Section determined that Lawson received a total of $1,802 in benefits to which he was not entitled.

Lawson pled guilty and was sentenced to two years in jail, which was suspended, and given two years of supervised probation. He was also ordered to pay a victim’s assessment fee and restitution in the amount of benefits received illegally.

• Deundra Jones, of Section, was tried in Jackson County Circuit Court on February 3, 2020. An investigation by Labor’s Benefit Payment Control Section determined that Jones received a total of $8,287 in benefits to which she was not entitled.

Jones pled guilty to an amended charge of Theft by Deception, 4th degree, and was sentenced to one year in jail, which was suspended, and given two years of unsupervised probation. She was also ordered to pay a victim’s assessment fee, court costs, and restitution in the amount of benefits received illegally.

The following individual was charged with Theft by Deception, Second Degree:

• Jamie S. Guest, of Glencoe, was tried in Etowah County Circuit Court on November 25, 2019. An investigation by Labor’s Benefit Payment Control Section determined that Guest received a total of $2,156 in benefits to which he was not entitled.

Guest pled guilty to an amended charge of Theft by Deception, 2nd degree, and was sentenced to two years in jail, which was suspended. He was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of benefits received illegally.

“Unemployment compensation benefits can serve as a lifeline to those who truly need them,” said Washington. “However, we want to send a message to those who would knowingly defraud the system in order to obtain benefits they aren’t entitled to: This is a crime and you will be prosecuted.”

“Our investigators are continuously working with local District Attorney Offices in order to identify and prosecute those individuals who are committing these crimes. I would also like to remind employers that their timely reporting of new hires is one of the best tools we have to prevent unemployment fraud.”

Suspected unemployment compensation fraud may be reported to the Alabama Department of Labor by calling 1-800-392-8019.

Employers may find more information regarding reporting new hires at http://www.labor.alabama.gov/nh.
The Alabama Department of Labor / The Alabama Career Center System is a partner in Alabama Works, Alabama’s unified workforce system.

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