Lowell man hit with $86,000 tab in welfare fraud case

2013-09-20T12:30:00Z 2013-09-20T23:06:06Z Lowell man hit with $86,000 tab in welfare fraud caseSusan Brown susan.brown@nwi.com, (219) 662-5325 nwitimes.com
September 20, 2013 12:30 pm  • 

CROWN POINT | Prosecutors have charged a Lowell man with welfare fraud, alleging the man continued to receive jobless benefits even though he was back to work.

According to a probable cause affidavit filed Friday, investigators with the Indiana Department of Worforce Development discovered Christopher Babbitt Jr. received $49,916 in overpayment of unemployment compensation benefits, incurring $37,017 in penalties for a total of $86,133.

Babbitt had filed for unemployment compensation in July 2009, reporting he had been laid off from his job, the affidavit states. He subsequently received weekly benefits of $390 off and on through January 2012.

In February 2012, Workforce Development Investigator Gayle Painter inspected payroll records at a construction business where Babbitt's earnings were shown as averaging in excess of $1,000 per week, the affidavit states.

On Friday, Babbitt was charged with welfare fraud, a felony, for allegedly falsely reporting he was unemployed while in fact drawing wages.

If convicted, Babbitt faces a sentence of between two and eight years in prison. 

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