SOUTH BEND | A Chesterton man faces a three-count federal indictment on allegations he used his brother’s identity to acquire approximately $10,000 in unemployment benefits.
Leon Thomas, 38, is scheduled for arraignment today before Magistrate Judge Roger Cosbey in U.S. District Court in South Bend on one count of identity theft, one count of aggravated identity theft and one count of theft of government property, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
In 2006 Thomas used the identity of his brother, “D. Thomas” to apply for a job in Michigan City, and worked under his brother’s name, according to the court’s charging affidavit.
In 2008, Thomas lost his job and applied for federal unemployment benefits using the name of his brother.
He allegedly received benefits through a VISA debit card, and applied for an extension of those benefits in June 2009, which continued through July 17, 2010.
Federal authorities allege Thomas fraudulently applied for, and received, approximately $10,000 in unemployment benefits. The indictment seeks recovery of the funds. He could also receive a prison sentence.
The charges were filed as a result of an investigation by the United States Department of Labor Office of the Inspector General and the Indiana Department of Workforce Development. This case has been assigned to and will be prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Barbara Z. Brook.