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19 Accused of Stealing Unemployment Benefits

A nearly year-long investigation in Illinois has led to indictments against 19 people accused of stealing unemployment benefits worth between $11,000 and $40,000 each.

The indictments were announced at a news conference Friday by U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Illinois Stephen Wigginton.

Two of the suspects were collecting benefits while serving prison time.

Wigginton says it's tough to investigate these types of thefts because most of the money in the federal program goes toward paying benefits, leaving little leftover for enforcement.

The 19 cases were investigated by the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General and other federal agencies, as well as the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

If convicted, each defendant faces up to 10 years in federal prison.

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